A recently published study in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the benefits of walking in people with peripheral artery disease (PAD).
The study included 156 people with PAD who were randomized to three groups: supervised treadmill exercise, leg resistance training, or a control group. At the beginning and end of the six month study, short physical performance battery was done. This consisted of three assessments of leg strength and balance (repeated chair rises, standing balance, and four-meter walking velocity).
Those who were in the walking group improved far more than the leg resistance group. Those who were in the control group (didn’t regularly exercise) actually lost ground or worsened. Those who walked regularly had improvement in the speed and distance of their walking as well as ease in getting up from a chair.
While walking has long been a standard recommendation for people with PAD, this study reinforces it. PAD patients with or without symptoms should engage in a regular exercise program.
A recommended regimen is a 40-minute walk three times a week for at least six months. The walking can be done on a treadmill or a sidewalk. It is nice to have a trainer or to use timer. If you start to get symptoms , you can stop and then start again until you have done the 40 minutes.
Learn more about PAD from the American Heart Association.
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