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Physiological effects of Nordic walking versus regular fast walking on healthy adults: a pilot study.

PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF NORDIC WALKING VERSUS REGULAR FAST WALKING ON HEALTHY ADULTS: A PILOT STUDY. (1) Henderson, Roberta J.; (1) Gronner, Kristin; (1) Laughlin, Michelle; (1) O'Brien, Nicole; (1) Pacquette, Kristy; (1) York, Jennifer. (1) Physical Therapy, Rosalind Franklin University, North Chicago, IL, USA.

Purpose/Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to compare the physiological effects of Nordic Walking versus Regular Fast Walking on healthy adults. The hypothesis was that Nordic Walking would increase heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, respiratory rate (RR) and caloric expenditure, with no increase in rate of perceived exertion (RPE) when compared to Regular Fast Walking. Number of Subjects: The sample of convenience consisted of sixteen healthy men (12.5%) and women (87.5%) volunteer subjects. The mean age of subjects was 25.0 (s=4.5) years with a mean body mass index (BMI) of 23.0 (s=5.4). Materials/Methods: The research design was a Pretest-Posttest, non-randomized, two group design. Each subject served as their own match. Subjects completed two 12-minute walking trials on a controlled environment walking course; Trial 1, Regular Fast Walking and Trial 2, Nordic Walking. Subjects received standardized instructions. Each variable was measured by the same tester. A metabolic cart was used to measure physiological variables and Borg's Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale was used to assessed RPE. Results: Descriptive statistics summarized demographic characteristics of the sample and physiological variable data. Paired t-Tests were used to investigate differences between Trial 1 and Trial 2 pretest and posttest change scores for each physiological variable. The Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was used to compare RPE between the two trials. Statistically significant differences (alpha = 0.05) were found between trials for HR (p=0.00009) and RR (p=-0.045), the Nordic Walking group exhibiting higher values. No significant differences between groups were found for BP (systolic; p=0.397, diastolic; p=0.146), oxygen consumption (p=0.149), carbon dioxide production (p=0.290), caloric expenditure (p=0.128), or RPE (p=0.550). Conclusions: Nordic Walking compared to Regular Fast Walking effected a significant increase in HR and RR without a corresponding significant increase in RPE. Although caloric expenditure was not significantly different between trials, the mean for the Nordic Walking group was greater than that of the Regular Fast Walking group. This suggests that as a form of aerobic exercise, Nordic Walking may be more beneficial than regular Fast Walking and that Nordic Walkers perceive less physical exertion than Regular Fast Walkers. Specifically, Nordic Walking appears to be an advantageous form of physical activity for young healthy persons and further research is warranted with other populations and outcome measures. Clinical Relevance: Physical Therapists, the acknowledged experts on exercise, increasingly consult and prescribe exercise for wellness and prevention. The health benefits of walking are well documented, however, there is a paucity of research on Nordic Walking. When compared to walking, Nordic Walking offers additional benefits of upper body muscle recruitment, reduced force through the lower extremities and assistance with balance, and thus may be a preferred form of exercise for some populations.
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Title Annotation:Poster Presentations
Publication:Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal
Article Type:Report
Date:Dec 1, 2009
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