Effects of Nordic walking on health-related quality of life in overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus, impaired or normal glucose tolerance

Diabet Med. 2011 Nov;28(11):1362-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03348.x.


Aims: To assess the effects of 4 months of increased physical activity on health-related quality of life in overweight individuals with Type 2 diabetes mellitus, normal or impaired glucose tolerance.

Methods: We included 212 individuals without severe physical or cardiovascular impairments aged 61 (57-64) years, with BMI of 29 (27.5-32) kg/m². Numbers are median (25th-75th percentile). Subjects were stratified based on normal glucose tolerance (n = 128), impaired glucose tolerance (n = 34) or Type 2 diabetes mellitus (n = 50). They were randomized into either a control group (n= 125), who maintained unaltered habitual lifestyle, or an exercise intervention group (n = 87), who were directed to engage in Nordic walking with walking poles, 5 h per week over 4 months. Self-reported physical activity and health-related quality of life was assessed at the time of inclusion and after 4 months.

Results: Baseline health-related quality of life of this study cohort was similar to, or better than, an age- and sex-matched Swedish population sample, for 12 of 13 scales. Quality of sleep and BMI were improved for participants with normal glucose tolerance after 4 months of Nordic walking, with little or no musculoskeletal pain as compared with control subjects. No correlation was evident between improved quality of sleep and improved BMI.

Conclusions: Quality of sleep improved in the group with normal glucose tolerance following 4 months of Nordic walking. BMI reduction did not account for this improvement. Nordic walking can be introduced in a primary health care setting as a low-cost mode of exercise that promotes weight loss and improved health satisfaction.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00852982.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Overweight / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sleep*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00852982