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2011 | 12 | 2 | 124-132

Article title

Nordic Walking - A New Form of Adapted Physical Activity (A Literature Review)


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Purpose. The purpose of this study was to analyze scientific evidence on the effects that Nordic Walking (NW) has on the human body. Basic procedures. A comprehensive search of computer databases (MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus) was conducted to identify relevant English and Polish studies on NW that were published from 1995 to 2009 and based on scientific research. Main findings. A total of 26 studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of studies (12) discussed physiological issues, eleven studies were dedicated to NW as a form of rehabilitation (including one case study), and three studies focused on biomechanical issues present in NW. Conclusions. Not all of the widely promoted benefits of NW were confirmed in the results of the found scientific studies. Often analyzed issues did not provide sufficient explanation. There is a large discrepancy in the results of physiological responses during NW in a variety of conditions (on a treadmill with/without grade; field - uphill/downhill/horizontal level terrain). The results of studies analyzing the effects of NW training as a form of rehabilitation particularly in the areas of cardiology confirmed the positive aspects of including NW towards a patient's rehabilitation after acute coronary syndrome, with intermittent claudication, and after coronary artery disease, or after myocardial infarction. Contrary to popular belief and previously done studies, recent research has shown that NW does not reduce the loading of the knee joint.










Physical description


1 - 6 - 2011
21 - 6 - 2011


  • Department of Adapted Physical Activity, Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Poland
  • Student Scientific Association, Faculty of Rehabilitation, Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Poland
  • Student Scientific Association, Faculty of Rehabilitation, Josef Pilsudski University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Poland


  • Kocur P., Wilk M., Nordic Walking - a new form of exercise in rehabilitation [in Polish]. Rehabilitacja Medyczna, 2006, 10 (2), 9-14.
  • Hansen L., Henriksen M., Larsen P., Alkjaer T., Nordic Walking does not reduce the loading of the knee joint. Scand J Med Sci Sports, 2008, 18 (4), 436-441, doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2007.00699.x.[Crossref][PubMed][WoS]
  • Schiffer T., Knicker A., Dannöhl R., Strüder H.K., Energy Cost and Pole Forces during Nordic Walking under Different Surface Conditions. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2009, 41 (3), 663-668, doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31818b9321.[Crossref][PubMed][WoS]
  • Rippe J.M., Ward A., Porcari J.P., Freedson P.S., Walking for health and fitness. JAMA, 1988, 259 (18), 2720-2724.
  • Fletcher G.F., Balady G.J., Amsterdam E.A., Chaitman B., Eckel R., Fleg J. et al., Exercise standards for testing and training: a statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 2001, 104 (14), 1694-1740.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Figurska M., Figurski T., Nordic walking for You [in Polish]. INTERSPAR, Warszawa 2008.
  • Pramann U., Schäufle B., Nordic Walking for the beginners [in German]. Südwest Verlag, München 2006.
  • Arem T., Nordic Walking a total body experience. BookSurge, Scotts Valley 2006.
  • Church T.S., Earnest C.P., Morss G.M., Field testing of physiological responses associated with Nordic Walking. Res Q Exerc Sport, 2002, 73 (3), 296-300.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Hagner W., Hagner-Derengowska M., Wiacek M., Zubrzycki I.Z., Changes in level of VO2max, blood lipids, and waist circumference in the response to moderate endurance training as a function of ovarian aging. Menopause, 2009, 16 (5), 1009-1013, doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31819c0924.[Crossref][WoS]
  • Hansen E.A., Smith G., Energy expenditure and comfort during Nordic walking with different pole lengths. J Strength Cond Res, 2009, 23 (4), 1187-1194, doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31819f1e2b.[PubMed][WoS][Crossref]
  • Jürimäe T., Meema K., Karelson K., Purge P., Jürimäe J., Intensity of Nordic Walking in young females with different peak O2 consumption. Clin Physiol Funct Imaging, 2009, 29 (5), 330-334, doi: 10.1111/j.1475-097X.2009.00872.x.[WoS][Crossref]
  • Kamień D., Walk test used to monitor the performance in the health-directed Nordic Walking. Physical Education and Sport, 2008, 52 (3), 69-72, doi: 10.2478/v10030-008-0014-6.[Crossref]
  • Knobloch K., No difference in the hemodynamic response to Nordic pole walking vs. conventional brisk walking - A randomized exercise field test using the ultrasonic cardiac output monitor (USCOM). Int J Cardiol, 2009, 132 (1), 133-135, doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2007.07.142.[PubMed][Crossref][WoS]
  • Kukkonen-Harjula K., Hiilloskorpi H., Mänttäri A., Pasanen M., Parkkari J., Suni J. et al., Self-guided brisk walking training with or without poles: a randomized-controlled trial in middle-aged women. Scand J Med Sci Sports, 2007, 17 (4), 316-323, doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2006.00585.x.[Crossref]
  • Perrey S., Fabre N., Exertion during uphill, level and downhill walking with and without hiking poles. J Sports Sci Med, 2008, 7 (1), 32-38.[PubMed]
  • Porcari J.P., Hendrickson T.L., Walter P.R., Terry L., Walsko G., The physiological responses to walking with and without Power Poles on treadmill exercise. Res Q Exerc Sport, 1997, 68 (2), 161-166.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Rodgers C.D., Vanheest J.L., Schachter C.L., Energy expenditure during submaximal walking with Exerstriders. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 1995, 27 (4), 607-611.[PubMed]
  • Schiffer T., Knicker A., Hoffman U., Harwig B., Hollmann W., Strüder H.K., Physiological responses to nordic walking, walking and jogging. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2006, 98 (1), 56-61, doi: 10.1007/s00421-006-0242-5.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Allet L., Leemann B., Guyen E., Murphy L., Monnin D., Herrmann F.R. et al., Effect of different walking aids on walking capacity of patients with poststroke hemiparesis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 2009, 90 (8), 1408-1413, doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2009.02.010.[WoS][Crossref][PubMed]
  • Kocur P., Deskur-Smielecka E., Wilk M., Dylewicz P., 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. Clin Rehabil, 2009, 23 (11), 995-1004, doi: 10.1177/0269215509337464.[PubMed][WoS][Crossref]
  • Kocur P., Deskur-Smielecka E., Wilk M., Dylewicz P., Estimation of energy expenditure during various forms of exercise training in early cardiac rehabilitation. Physiotherapy, 2009, 17 (2), 3-11, doi: 10.2478/v10109-010-0001-3.[Crossref]
  • Oakley C., Zwierska I., Tew G., Beard J.D., Saxton J.M., Nordic Poles Immediately Improve Walking Distance in Patients with Intermittent Claudication. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg, 2008, 36 (6), 689-694, doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2008.06.036.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Sprod L.K., Drum S.N., Bentz A.T., Carter S.D., Schneider C.M., The effects of walking poles on shoulder function in breast cancer survivors. Integr Cancer Ther, 2005, 4 (4), 287-293, doi: 10.1177/1534735405282212.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Strömbeck B.E., Theander E., Jacobsson L.T., Effects of exercise on aerobic capacity and fatigue in women with primary Sjögren's syndrome. Rheumatology, 2007, 46 (5), 868-871, doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kem004.[WoS][Crossref]
  • Suija K., Pechter U., Kalda R., Tähepõld H., Maaroos J., Maaroos H.I., Physical activity of depressed patients and their motivation to exercise: Nordic Walking in family practice. Int J Rehabil Res, 2009, 32 (2), 132-138.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • van Eijkeren F.J., Reijmers R.S., Kleinveld M.J., Minten A., Bruggen J.P., Bloem B.R., Nordic Walking Improves Mobility in Parkinson's Disease. Mov Disord, 2008, 23 (15), 2239-2243, doi: 10.1002/mds.22293.[Crossref]
  • Walter P.R., Porcari J.P., Brice G., Terry L., Acute responses to using walking poles in patients with coronary artery disease. J Cardiopulm Rehabil, 1996, 16 (4), 245-250.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Wilk M., Kocur P., Różańska A., Przywarska I., Dylewicz P., Owczarski T. et al., Assessment of the selected physiological effects of Nordic Walking performed as a part of a physical exercise program during the second phase of rehabilitation after a myocardial infarction [in Polish]. Rehabilitacja Medyczna, 2005, 9 (2), 33-39.
  • Stief F., Kleindienst F.I., Wiemeyer J., Wedel F., Campe S., Krabbe B., Inverse dynamic analysis of the lower extremities during nordic walking, walking, and running. J Appl Biomech, 2008, 24 (4), 351-359.[PubMed]
  • Willson J., Torry M.R., Decker M.J., Kernozek T., Streadman J.R., Effects of walking poles on lower extremity gait mechanics. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2001, 33 (1), 142-147.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Knobloch K., Schreibmueller L., Jagodzinski M., Zeichen J., Krettek C., Rapid rehabilitation programme following sacral stress fracture in a long-distance running female athlete. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg, 2007, 127 (9), 809-813; doi: 10.1007/s00402-006-0201-y.[Crossref][WoS]

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