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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Mar;35(3):384-93.

PoleStriding exercise and vitamin E for management of peripheral vascular disease.

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  • 1Research and Development Service, College of Nursing at University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL 60141, USA.



The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the efficacy of PoleStriding exercise (a form of walking that uses muscles of the upper and lower body in a continuous movement similar to cross-country skiing) and vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) to improve walking ability and perceived quality of life (QOL) of patients with claudication pain secondary to peripheral arterial disease (PAD).


Fifty-two subjects were randomized into four groups: PoleStriding with vitamin E (N = 13), PoleStriding with placebo (N= 14), vitamin E without exercise (N= 13), and placebo without exercise (N = 12). The dose of vitamin E was 400 IU daily. Only the PoleStriding with vitamin E and PoleStriding with placebo groups received PoleStriding instruction and training. Assignment to vitamin E or placebo was double blind. Subjects trained three times weekly for 30-45 min (rest time excluded). Individuals in vitamin E and placebo groups came to the laboratory biweekly for ankle blood-pressure measurements.


Results of this randomized clinical trial provide strong evidence that PoleStriding significantly (P< 0.001) improved exercise tolerance on the constant work-rate and incremental treadmill tests. Ratings of perceived claudication pain were significantly less after the PoleStriding training program (P= 0.02). In contrast, vitamin E did not have a statistically significant effect on the subjects' ratings of perceived leg pain (P= 0.35) or treadmill walking duration ( P= 0.36). Perceived distance and walking speed (Walking Impairment Questionnaire) and perceived physical function (Rand Short Form-36) improved in the PoleStriding trained group only (P< 0.001, 0.022 and 0.003, respectively).


PoleStriding effectively improved the exercise tolerance and perceived QOL of patients with PAD. Little additional benefit to exercise capacity was realized from vitamin E supplementation.

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