Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the short-term and long-term effects of a moderate intensity nordic walking program, and the feasibility of this exercise form among Hungarian community-living older adults.
Methods: Forty one community-living older adults aged over 60 years (mean 67.5, SD 4.8 years) participated in a nordic walking program consisting of a 10-week supervised period and a 25-week unsupervised period. The age and gender matched control group did not receive any types of exercise programs. The balance, functional mobility, lower limb strength, and aerobic endurance were measured at baseline, after 10 weeks and after 25 weeks.
Results: The balance, the functional mobility and the aerobic endurance significantly improved in the nordic walking group (P=0.001; P=0.04; P<0.0001, respectively), whereas there were significant deteriorations in the control group. In terms of lower limb muscle strenght (including iliopsoas, quadriceps, gluteus muscles, and hamstring muscles) we could not demonstrate improvement (P=0.274).
Conclusion: This study showed that nordic walking is a simple, well-tolerated and effective physical activity for older people in Hungary. Based on the findings of our studies, the nordic walking will play an important role in geriatric physiotherapy in order to improve or maintain the functional abilities of this growing population.