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Nordic walking the best exercise for heart patients

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Nordic walking—where walkers use poles—is one of the best types of exercise for improving overall health and wellbeing.

It’s better than high-intensity training, especially for people who are recovering from serious heart disease, researchers have found.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) patients have reduced functional capacity and a lower quality of life—along with an increased risk of another heart attack—and, while some of them get the message that they are supposed to exercise, many find regular walking exercise difficult to maintain, often because they get bored, say researchers from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

The researchers tried several different exercises on 130 heart patients for three months, including high-intensity interval training, moderate intensity continuous training and Nordic walking, and tested for any improvements in functional capacity, quality of life and depression.

All three forms of exercise helped lower depression and improve functional capacity, but the biggest improvements were seen in those who did Nordic walking.  Overall, Nordic walkers had a 19 percent overall improvement, compared to a 13 percent improvement in the high-intensity exercise group.

Nordic walkers use poles that also exercise the upper body.

Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 2022; doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2022.03.017

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Article Topics: better, exercise
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