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Nordic Walking can help heart failure rehab

Nordic walking is a “promising alternative” treatment for heart failure patients, according to Canadian researchers.

Their study involved 54 patients who were aged 62 on average. They received either standard cardiac rehabilitation care or took part in a programme of Nordic walking. Both groups did 200-400 minutes of exercise per week for 12 weeks.

Compared with standard care, Nordic walking led to higher functional capacity, greater self-reported physical activity, increased right grip strength, and fewer depressive symptoms.

However, no significant differences were found for peak aerobic capacity, left-hand grip strength, body weight, waist circumference, or symptoms of anxiety.

“Nordic walking was superior to standard cardiac rehabilitation care in improving functional capacity and other important outcomes in patients with heart failure,” the authors said in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

“This exercise modality is a promising alternative for this population.”

Nordic walking is an activity performed with two specially designed walking poles similar to ski poles. It is a more intense exercise than normal walking,involving use of more of the body, increased energy consumption and a higher heart rate.

The term “Nordic walking” was first coined in 1999 but the concept dates back to 1979.