Acute Responses to Using Walking Poles in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease

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This study was designed to assess the safety and effectiveness of walking when using 1-lb walking poles in Phase III/IV cardiac rehabilitation patients.


Following instruction on the proper use of the poles and adequate time to practice, each subject completed two 8-minute walking trials on a level treadmill either with or without walking poles. Each trial was conducted at an identical speed for each subject in a randomized order. Heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded every 2 minutes during each trial, while ECG responses (ST segment changes and dysrhythmias) were monitored continuously.


Walking with poles significantly (P <.05) increased the energy cost of walking by 21% (3.8 mL/kg/min) compared to walking without poles. There were also significant (P <.05) increases in HR (14 bpm), SBP (16 mm Hg), and DBP (4 mm Hg) when comparing conditions. Calculated oxygen pulse (mL O2 • heart beat) values indicated that changes in HR were consistent with the increase in ˙VO2and were not related to a pressor response mechanism. The only dysrhythmias noted were isolated PVCs, with no differences in the frequency of occurrence between trials. There were no adverse ST segment changes with either trial.


These data demonstrate that at a given speed, the use of 1-lb walking poles can safely increase the intensity of walking exercise in Phase III/IV cardiac rehabilitation patients.

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