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Nordic Walking Benefits Heart Health

Study looks at effectiveness when compared with HIIT and moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

Two people enjoying Nordic walking benefits outside

In more news about Nordic walking’s benefits, new study findings show that Nordic walking, which uses poles that help walkers engage both upper- and lower-body muscles, improves functional capacity, quality of life and depression symptoms in people with coronary artery disease (CAD). University of Ottawa researchers in Ottawa, Ontario, conducted the study with 130 CAD patients over 12 weeks. Participants did either Nordic walking, high-intensity interval training or moderate-to-vigorous continuous training. All programs resulted in improvements in quality of life and depression symptoms, but subjects in the Nordic walking group experienced the most improvement in functional capacity, compared with the other protocols.

“This is a key finding because lower functional capacity predicts higher risk of future cardiovascular events in people with coronary artery disease,” said principal investigator Jennifer L. Reed, PhD, scientist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. “Nordic walking engages core, upper and lower body muscles while reducing loading stress at the knee, which may have resulted in greater improvements in functional capacity.”

“No previous study has directly compared the long-term effects of high-intensity interval training, moderate-to-vigorous intensity continuous training and Nordic walking,” added Tasuku Terada, PhD, senior postdoctoral research fellow, University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

The study on these Nordic walking benefits is published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology (2022; 38 [7]).

See also: Why Older Exercisers Should Try Nordic Walking

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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