To determine whether Nordic walking improves cardiovascular function in middle-aged women and men, we included 121 with normal glucose tolerance, 33 with impaired glucose tolerance and 47 with Type 2 diabetes mellitus in a randomized controlled study. The intervention group added Nordic walking 5 h/week for 4 months to their ordinary activities. Aortic pulse wave velocity, aortic augmentation index, stiffness index, reflection index, intima-media thickness in the radial and carotid arteries, echogenicity of the carotid intima-media and systemic vascular resistance were measured. While baseline blood pressure did not differ by gender or diagnosis, aortic augmentation index was found to be higher in women in all groups. Vascular function was unchanged with intervention, without differences by gender or diagnosis. In conclusion, 4 months of Nordic walking is an insufficient stimulus to improve vascular function. Future studies should consider hard endpoints in addition to measures of vascular health, as well as larger population groups, long-term follow-up and documented compliance to exercise training.
Keywords: Arterial stiffness; Nordic walking; cardiovascular; intima–media; metabolic syndrome; pulse wave.
© The Author(s) 2015.