Study leader Mary McDermott of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago said the study that involved nearly 200 PAD patients whose change in performance in a 6-minute walk was measured over six months.
Study participants who did the home-based treadmill exercise program increased their walking distance over 6 minutes by nearly 150 feet, compared with a decline of 36 feet among patients in a "control" group who did not do the exercise program.
Participants in the exercise group also improved their maximum treadmill walking time by nearly 1 1/2 minutes, while the change in the control group was about 30 seconds, McDermott said.
"I still encourage people to walk at home, to make it part of their daily life, until they've achieved at least 30 and preferably 40 to 50 minutes each session," McDermott said in a statement.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.