Effects of nordic walking compared to conventional walking and band-based resistance exercise on fitness in older adults

J Sports Sci Med. 2013 Sep 1;12(3):422-30. eCollection 2013.


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of Nordic walking with conventional walking and band-based resistance exercise on functional fitness, static balance and dynamic balance in older adults. Volunteers (n = 65) were divided into four groups: Nordic walking (NW), conventional walking (CW), resistance (RES), and control. Each group performed activity 50-70 min·day(-1) (warm-up 10-15 min, main exercise 30-40, and cool down 10-15 min), 3 days·week(-1) (NW and CW) or 2 day·week(-1) (RES) for 12 wks. Upper-body strength improved (p < 0. 05) in the RES (22.3%) and the NW (11.6%) groups compared to the CW and control groups. Cardio- respiratory fitness improved more in the NW (10.9%) and CW (10.6%) groups compared to the RES and control groups. Upper- and lower-body flexibility also improved in all exercise groups compared to the control group. There were no improvements in balance measures in any group. 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. Key PointsNordic walking, conventional walking, and resistance training are beneficial for older adults.Nordic walking and conventional walking both improve cardio-respiratory fitness while resistance training does not.Nordic walking provides additional benefits in upper-body muscular strength compared to conventional walking.Nordic walking is an effective and efficient mode of exercise to improve overall fitness in older adults.

Keywords: Walking; aging; concurrent exercise; functional fitness; resistance exercise.