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Scandinavian walking beats interval training to improve heart function, studies say

Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program. If you feel pain, stop immediately.

(CNN)If you're looking for aerobic exercise that stimulates your heart and improves your daily routine, running and interval training come to mind right away. maybe. .. However, we recommend that you try Nordic walking to maximize your workout. New research suggests.

This low-impact whole-body workout, which began in Finland, can be performed at different intensity levels. It incorporates the use of specially designed poles that you work against your feet-that is, your left and right feet work in tandem, and your right and left feet. Pole planting and push-offs will help boost you. This system is especially useful when going up and down hills.
Patients with coronary heart disease who participated in Scandinavian walking have significantly greater ability to perform functional or routine activities than patients who receivedhigh-intensity interval training. Improved Canadian Journal of Cardiology

, according to a recent study, the effects of Scandinavian walking on patients with moderate to intense continuous training cardiac rehabilitation. Few studies have been investigated yet. Dr. Jennifer Reed, senior author and director of exercise physiology and cardiovascular health at the University of Ottawa Cardiac Institute in Canada, said other forms of exercise, or HIIT training, have been extensively studied. No other study directly compares the above three exercise therapies.

"Our study showing the superior benefits of Nordic walking in functional ability is an alternative exercise option that requires minimal cost and equipment to improve physical and mental health. Is emphasized, "she said.

Whole body movements

Nordic walking, according to theAmerican Nordic Walking Association, is 80% to 90% of muscles when done properly. % Exercise., only use 40% while walking and running. The additional shoulder, chest, and arm muscles used are the deltoid, chest, upper abdomen, forearm flexor, subscapularis, triceps, and external oblique muscles. In addition, a study published in the journalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

found that using these additional muscles burned 20% more calories compared to normal walking. Will increase. The researchers had 130 patients in a 12-week training program and performed a 60-minute Nordic walk on an indoor track. 60 minutes of medium to intense continuous training (cycling, boating, etc.). Or 45 minutes of HIIT training. At the end of the training program, and after a 14-week observation period after regimen, participants underwent two 6-minute gait tests to measure their functional performance.

All exercises helped relieve depression and improve quality of life in patients, but their functional abilities were greatest after Nordic walking, the researchers said. discovered. Pedestrians' functional abilities improved by 19%, but 13% received HIIT training and 12% received moderate to intense continuous training.

"The 6-minute gait test to measure functional performance is an evidence-based, usually reproducible test," said a physician who is an associate professor of rehabilitation and medicine at NYU Langone Health in New York. Dr. Jonathan H. Whiteson said. City. He was not involved in the study.

"However, as a gait test to measure improvement in various exercise regimens, it is important to recognize that training is task-specific, so gait interventions, rather than other interventions, are important. Not so surprising. Two exercise interventions that are not focused solely on walking have resulted in a greater increase. ”

A more objective measure of aerobic training is the cardiopulmonary exercise test, Or a metabolic stress test. It can measure fitness levels through metabolic analysis. health. “The CPET test improves the results of this study, but all modality has improved functional capacity. This correlates well with the reduced risk of future cardiac events, so the heart. The goal of the rehabilitation program. ”

Nordic walking is primarily a walking exercise, and the fact that other training programs include a variety of aerobic exercises ranked first in the walking test. It may be the reason. Using the pole while walking improves speed and posture control and can increase the length of the walking stride.

In any case, Whiteson had one caveat. He said that Nordic walking needs to be vigorous and coordinated and balanced in order to be functionally competent. Therefore, it may not be a good choice for everyone. Based on the

study, her team is ready to begin clinical trials investigating the effects of different exercise type combinations on patients with cardiovascular disease, such as the combination of HIIT training and Nordic walking. I am.

Feeling burned

Positive findings also show that Nordic walking is another health measure, such as lower body strength, and blood sugar and lipids. Cardiovascular health indicator. Positive results may indicate use in people with other conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

In the United States, only 20% to 30% of patients who are eligible for and can benefit from cardiac rehabilitation are referred and participated, Whiteson said. This lack of active rehab participants makes research like Reed important. It shows another exercise modality they can use and is very practical as it can be done outside the gym. "It also helps remind healthcare providers and patients that cardiac rehabilitation is an essential part of their recovery regimen, future health and well-being."

Perhaps with Reed The biggest point that both Whiteson have gained from this study is that anyone can benefit from the exercise. "There is no magical medicine for health, but exercise is a medicine for multiple health conditions at the same time," Reed said. "When it comes to physical activity, I want to say,'something is better than nothing, and some are better than something.'"