Patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) improve when following a pain-free exercise regimen, suggests a new study.
Exercise forms an important part in PAD management along with healthy diet, smoking cessation as well as weight loss.
According to lead author of the study, Edward Lin from the Toronto University, since several years, the standard exercise regimen for PAD patients has remained to walk and surpass their pain thresholds as it is believed that this improves the symptoms, quality of life as well as mobility. However, the new study shows that pain-free exercise also offers similar results; however, the patients aren’t given such a choice.
In the study, the researchers compared completion as well as adherence rates among traditional v/s alternative regimen of exercise for around 4 weeks. Completion was measured as per proportion of volunteers who completed the exercise regimen. Adherence was measured as the percentage of the exercise sessions conducted.
Traditional exercise regimen included walking till moderate or severe pain while alternative exercise included walking without any pain, resistance training, arm ergo meter among others.
The researchers examined 84 studies as well as around 4,000 patients; including 64 traditional exercise regimes while 54 alternative programs. They observed that the rates of completion and adherence were 6 percent and 8 percent higher respectively with alternative exercise regime than compared to the traditional exercise regime.
Pain played a vital role in adherence as well as completion rates, said Lin. Many patients don’t prefer walking until they feel pain which is why clinicians should prescribe individualised exercise plan which they most likely would follow.
The study appears in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.