Publisher’s note: Before starting any exercise program, consult your doctor. Stop immediately if you feel pain.
(Nation World News)– If you’re looking for a cardio activity that gets your heart working and improves your daily life, you probably immediately think about running or interval training, also known as HIIT. However, new research suggests that to maximize your training, you should try Nordic walking.
Originating in Finland, this low-impact, full-body exercise can be performed at a variety of intensity levels. It involves the use of specially designed poles that work in opposition to the legs, that is, the left arm and right leg work together, and the right arm works with the left leg. The way the poles are positioned and pushed helps propel you forward, and the system is especially useful when going up or down hills.
According to a recent study, CHD patients engaged in Nordic walking had greater improvements in their functional capacity, or ability to perform activities of daily living, than those engaged in high-intensity interval training or moderate-to-vigorous continuous training. developed. Published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.
Few studies have examined the effects of Nordic walking on cardiac rehabilitation patients, but other forms of exercise, especially HIIT workouts, have been studied extensively, said lead author Dr. Jennifer Reid, from the University of Ottawa Heart on Exercise Physiology and Physiology. Director of Cardiovascular Health said. Institute, Canada. No other study has directly compared the three exercise regimens mentioned.
“Our research, showing the superior benefits of Nordic walking on functional capacity, highlights an alternative exercise option that requires minimal cost and equipment to improve physical and mental health,” he said.
whole body movement
According to the American Nordic Walking Association, Nordic walking exercises 80% to 90% of your muscles, while walking and running use only 40%. Additional shoulder, chest and arm muscles used are the deltoids, pectorals, upper abdominals, forearm flexors, subscapularis, triceps and external obliques. In addition, the use of these additional muscles represents a 20% increase in calorie burn compared to regular running, according to a study published in the journal Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.
During Reid’s study, researchers put 130 patients through a 12-week training program in which they performed 60 minutes of Nordic walking on an indoor track; 60 minutes of continuous moderate to vigorous training (for example, cycling or rowing); Or a 45-minute HIIT workout. At the end of the training program, and again following a 14-week observation period following the diet, participants took two walking tests of six minutes each to measure functional ability.
According to the researchers, all exercise regimens helped the patients overcome depression and improve their quality of life, but functional ability was higher after Nordic walking. Patients who practiced Nordic Walking increased their functional capacity by 19%, compared with 13% of those who exercised HIIT and 12% of those who did moderate to vigorous continuous training.
“The six-minute walk is an evidence-based and generally reproducible test for functional ability,” said Dr. Jonathan H. Whiteson, MD, associate professor of rehabilitation and medicine at NYU Langone Health in New York City. York who was not involved in The Study.
“However, since this is a walking test to measure improvement in different exercise regimens, it is important to recognize that training is task-specific, so it is not surprising that the walking intervention, instead of two other exercise interventions that do not Were simply focused on walking, produced the greatest growth.
A more objective measure of aerobic training is the cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET), or metabolic stress test, which can measure fitness level through metabolic analysis, said Whitson, MD, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation at NYU Langone Health. “The use of CPET would have improved the results of this study. That said, all modalities improved functional capacity, and is a goal of a cardiac rehabilitation program, as it is associated with a reduced risk of future cardiovascular events.” ties in well.
The fact that Nordic walking is primarily running exercise and that other training programs include a variety of aerobic exercise is certainly why it came out on top in the test, Reid acknowledged. Using a cane while walking can improve gait and postural control, and increase stride length.
In any case, Whiteson issued a caveat: To achieve increased functional capacity, Nordic walking must be done vigorously, and it requires coordination and balance, he said. Hence, it may not be a good option for everyone.
Based on this study, his team is set to begin a clinical trial that will explore the effects of combining different types of exercise, such as combining HIIT training with Nordic walking, in patients with heart disease.
feel the effort
The positive results of the study have also spurred the team’s interest in exploring the potential benefits of walking on other Nordic health measures, such as upper and lower body strength and indicators of heart health, such as glucose and blood lipids. Positive results may point to its use in people with obesity and other conditions such as diabetes.
In the United States, only 20% to 30% of patients who are eligible for and may benefit from cardiac rehabilitation are referred and participate in it, according to Whiteson. This lack of participants in active rehabilitation makes research such as Reid important because it points to another exercise method they can use, and a very practical one as can be done outside the gym. “It also helps to remind healthcare providers and patients that cardiac rehabilitation is an essential part of their recovery regimen, their future health and well-being.”
According to Reid and Whitson, perhaps the biggest conclusion from the study is that everyone can benefit from exercise. “There is no magic bullet for health, but exercise is medicine that targets multiple health conditions at once,” Reid said. “When it comes to physical activity, I like to say, ‘a little is better than none, and more is better than some’.”
– Melanie Radziki McManus is a freelance writer specializing in hiking, travel and fitness.