Research

Research Summary

 Health Benefits of Nordic Walking:  A Systematic Review.Includes 41 studies. Tschentscher, 2013

Obesity

The influence of a ten-week Nordic walking training-rehabilitation program on the level of lipids in blood in overweight and obese postmenopausal women.
After 10 weeks of NW rehabilitation it was observed that participants lost weight and their body mass index dropped. Rehabilitation carried out according to the NW model resulted in statistically significant changes in basic lipids in blood which, considerably increased the percentage of persons who achieved the recommended level of blood lipids. Obese persons were characterised by a smaller rehabilitation weight loss. Hagner-Derengowska M et al, 2015

Efficacy of Nordic walking in obesity management
NW activity in obese women allows an increase in exercise intensity and adherence to a training program without increasing the perception of effort leading to enhanced aerobic capacity. Figard-Fabre H1 et al., 2011

Physiological and perceptual responses to Nordic walking in obese middle-aged women in comparison with the normal walk.
Use of NW (Nordic walking) poles increased physiological responses at a given speed but decreased RPE (rate of perceived exertion) in comparison with W (walking) during inclined level. Moreover, this is the first study showing that a learning period of NW technique permitted to enhance the difference between EC (energy cost) with NW poles versus the Walking condition and to decrease the RPE when using NW poles. Thus, although it requires a specific learning of the technique, the NW might be considered like an attractive physical activity with an important public health application. Figard-Fabre et al, 2010.

Health benefits of Nordic walking: a systematic review.
The current analysis revealed that with regard to short- and long-term effects on heart rate, oxygen consumption, quality of life, and other measures, Nordic walking is superior to brisk walking without poles and in some endpoints to jogging.  Nordic walking exerts beneficial effects on resting heart rate, blood pressure, exercise capacity, maximal oxygen consumption, and quality of life in patients with various diseases and can thus be recommended to a wide range of people as primary and secondary prevention.  Tschentscher et al., 2013

Cancer

Stick Together: A Nordic Walking group intervention for breast cancer survivors.
Patients’ vitality had improved, whereas perceived shoulder symptom severity and limitations in daily activities had decreased. Goniometric data indicated that range of motion (forward flexion, abduction and external rotation) of the affected shoulder improved significantly within ten weeks of training. Results from this explorative study suggest that Nordic Walking is a feasible and potentially valuable tool in the rehabilitation of patients with breast cancer. Fischer et al., 2015

The effects of pole walking on arm lymphedema and cardiovascular fitness in women treated for breast cancer: a pilot and feasibility study.
The results indicated a significant reduction in total arm volume of the lymphedema arm, in lymphedema absolute volume and lymphedema relative volume. Significant decreases of heart rate and rating of tightness in the arm were found.  Jönsson & Johansson, 2014

Effects of selected forms of physical activity on body posture in the sagittal plane in women post breast cancer treatment.
Balanced postural changes were only identified among the women in the Nordic Walking group. Hanuszkiewicz et al., 2014

The effects of walking poles on shoulder function in breast cancer survivors. 
The data suggest that using a walking pole exercise routine for 8 weeks significantly improved muscular endurance of the upper body. Sprod et al., 2005

Exercise effects on HRV in cancer patients
Exercise enhances cardiac autonomic regulation of tumour patients during and after acute treatment. Because of the association of higher HRV-parameters and prolonged survival in cancer patients, improvement in autonomic control may be an important goal of exercise. Niederer et al., 2012

Cardiac

Randomized trial of Nordic walking in patients with moderate to severe heart failure.
A study published by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, concluded that walking with poles is superior to standard cardiac rehab, even for those following mild to moderate heart failure.  Keast et al., 2013

The influence of systematic pulse-limited physical exercise on the parameters of the cardiovascular system in patients over 65 years of age.
Systematic NW physical exercise limited by the pulse had a beneficial effect on the physical performance of elderly persons as assessed with main parameters.  A short 6-week programme of endurance exercises had a hypotensive effect in elderly persons over 65 years of age.  Chomiuk et al., 2013

Effects of Nordic walking training on exercise capacity and fitness in men participating in early, short-term inpatient cardiac rehabilitation after an acute coronary syndrome–a controlled trial.
Nordic Walking may improve exercise capacity, lower body endurance and coordination of movements in patients with good exercise tolerance participating in early, short-term rehabilitation after an acute coronary syndrome. Kocur et al., 2009

Changes in level of VO2max, blood lipids, and waist circumference in the response to moderate endurance training as a function of ovarian aging.
A 12-week moderate intensity Nordic walking program was administered to the cohort. Significant decreases in BMI, TF, LDL, TGs, and WC and increase in HDL in premenopausal and perimenopausal women indicate the outstanding role the appropriately chosen moderate endurance training may play in the quality of daily life in perimenopausal women. Hagner et al., 2009

Parkinson’s Disease

Impact of physical exercise on reaction time in patients with Parkinson’s disease-data from the Berlin BIG Study.
Supervised physical exercise with Lee Silverman Voice Treatment-BIG or Nordic walking is associated with improvement in cognitive aspects of movement preparation. Ebersbach et al., 2014

Effects of a flexibility and relaxation programme, walking, and nordic walking on Parkinson’s disease.
Assessment after completion of the training showed that pain was reduced in all groups, and balance and health-related quality of life were improved. Nordic walking was superior to the flexibility and relaxation programme and walking in improving postural stability, stride length, gait pattern and gait variability. Reuter et al., 2011

Nordic walking improves mobility in Parkinson’s disease.
These preliminary findings suggest that Nordic walking could provide a safe, effective, and enjoyable way to reduce physical inactivity in PD and to improve the quality of life. A large randomized clinical trial now appears justified. van Eijkeren et al., 2008

Nordic walking Injuries

Nordic Pole Walking Injuries – Nordic Walking Thumb as Novel Injury Entity

Nordic walking is safe.  The most frequent injury in Nordic walking is a distortion of the ulnar collateral ligament of the thumb after a fall which the poles acts as hypomochlium.  Modifying the construction of the Nordic Walking pole handle, avoiding holding onto the pole in the event of a fall, as well as education could be preventive measures.  Knobloch et al., 2006 Translated

Comments on the Urban Poles from Dr. Knobloch, 2014.  “The Urban poles appear light with a good grip. The hand design of the grip offer even more support and thus, provide safety. The hand piece and length adjustments are convenient. Overall, the chance to suffer a Nordic walking thumb is probably reduced with your urban poles, especially among patients with Diabetes; with a potential impairment of balance and proprioception”.  Prof. Dr. med. Karsten Knobloch

Diabetes

Effects of Nordic walking on cardiovascular risk factors in overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes, impaired or normal glucose tolerance.
Nordic walking improved anthropometric measurements and exercise capacity. However, unsupervised Nordic walking may not provide a sufficient increase in exercise intensity to achieve ultimate health-promoting benefits on the cardiovascular parameters assessed in this study, particularly for those with disturbed glucose regulation. Fritz et al., 2013

Physical activity in pregnancy and in breast-feeding period in obese mothers.
Considering common recommendations for training, as well as careful measures and contraindications, a moderate individual training to maintain physical and psychic fitness is desirable. Many kinds of sports like jogging, Nordic walking, swimming and cycling, for example, can be carried out in a pregnancy without any risks and furthermore promote the health of the future mother and child. Korsten-Reck et al, 2010

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Nordic poles immediately improve walking distance in patients with intermittent claudication.
These results show that Nordic Pole Walking (NPW) immediately enables patients with intermittent claudication to walk further with less pain, despite a higher workload. NPW might also be a useful exercise strategy for improving the cardiovascular fitness of patients with intermittent claudication. Oakley et al., 2008

Older Adults

Short-term and long-term effects of Nordic Walking training on balance, functional mobility, muscle strength and aerobic endurance among Hungarian community-living older people: a feasibility study.
Balance, functional mobility and aerobic endurance significantly improved in the Nordic walking group.  This study showed that Nordic Walking is a simple, well–tolerated and effective physical activity for older people in Hungary. Viraq et al., 2014

Effect Of Walking Poles On Dynamic Gait Stability on the Elderly
Texas Women’s University study, which concluded that walking poles provided increased gait stability at both preferred and fast speed. Kwon, Silver, Ryu, Yoon, Newton & Shim, 2006 (unpublished)

Effects of Nordic walking compared to conventional walking and band-based resistance exercise on fitness in older adults.
While all modes of exercise improved various components of fitness, Nordic walking provided the best well-rounded benefits by improving upper-body strength, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility. Therefore,  Nordic walking is recommended as an effective and efficient mode of concurrent exercise to improve overall functional fitness in older adults. Takeshima et al., 2013

Knee Joints

Effects of walking poles on lower extremity gait mechanics.
There were differences in kinetic variables between walking with and without poles. The use of walking poles enabled subjects to walk at a faster speed with reduced vertical ground reaction forces, vertical knee joint reaction forces, and reduction in the knee extensor angular impulse and support moment, depending on the poling condition used. Willson et al., 2001

Changes in in vivo knee contact forces through gait modification

The results of this study suggest that an optimal configuration of bilateral hiking poles may significantly reduce both medial and lateral compartment knee forces in individuals with medial knee osteoarthritis.  Kinney et al., 2013

Effects of Walking Technique on Knee Joint Loading

Dynamic knee joint loading is effected by the technique adopted.  Increase in dynamic knee joint loading was observed when poles contact the ground behind the user.  Decrease in dynamic knee joint loading was observed when poles are held away from the body and downward force was applied.
Bechard et al., 2015 (unpublished) UWO

Effects of Nordic walking and walking on spatiotemporal gait parameters and ground reaction force
Compared with the walking group, the Nordic walking group showed an increase in cadence, stride length, and step length, and a decrease in stride time, step time, and vertical ground reaction force.
Park et al. 2015

Neck Pain

Health benefits of Nordic walking: a systematic review.
A study by Henkel et al. (2008) found effect of selected prevention concepts on functional health of persons with nonspecific chronic recurrent neck pain. Observed a reduced in unspecific, chronic neck pain and increased quality of life Tschentscher et al., 2013

Back Pain

Supervised and non-supervised Nordic walking in the treatment of chronic low back pain a single blind randomized clinical trial.
For pain, disability, and patient specific function the supervised Nordic walking group generally faired best however no statistically significant differences were found. Hartvigisen et al., 2010

Fibromyalgia

Does moderate-to-high intensity Nordic walking improve functional capacity and pain in fibromyalgia? A prospective randomized controlled trial.
Moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise by means of Nordic walking twice a week for 15 weeks was found to be a feasible mode of exercise, resulting in improved functional capacity and a decreased level of activity limitations. Pain severity did not change over time during the exercise period. Mannerkorpi et al., 2010

Mental Health

Physical activity of depressed patients and their motivation to exercise: Nordic Walking in family practice.
Nordic walking increased the patients’ physical activity and improved their mood. Suija et al., 2009

Acute effects of a single bout of moderate exercise on psychological well-being in patients with affective disorder during hospital treatment.
A self-paced but supervised single Nordic walking session seems to be effective in improving acute psychological well-being in patients with affective disorder. Stark et al., 2012

Menopause

Effects of Nordic Walking and Pilates exercise programs on blood glucose and lipid profile in overweight and obese postmenopausal women in an experimental, nonrandomized, open-label, prospective controlled trial.

Exercise training in accordance with the NW model causes statistically and clinically more significant changes in glucose and basic blood lipid levels than do Pilates and dietary intervention alone. Hagner-Derengowska et al., 2015

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Winter Poling

When walking on snow covered surfaces, remove the rubber tips to expose the carbide tip which will provide better traction.  Add snow baskets to prevent the poles from sinking deep into the snow.
– Mandy Shintani, OT

 

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