Effects of a Nordic Walking program on motor and non-motor symptoms, functional performance and body composition in patients with Parkinson's disease

NeuroRehabilitation. 2015;37(2):245-54. doi: 10.3233/NRE-151257.


Background: Several studies have clearly shown that physical exercise can reduce the progression of motor symptoms in Parkinson's Disease (PD). However, little is known about the effects of a Nordic Walking (NW) program in PD patients.

Objective: To determine the effects of a NW program on motor and non-motor symptoms, functional performances and body composition in PD patients.

Methods: Twenty PD patients (16M, 4F, 67.3±7.8 years) were enrolled and randomly assigned to NW group (NWg, n = 10) and Control group (Cg, n = 10). The training consisted in 2 sessions per week for 12 weeks. Training effects were assessed by functional and instrumental tests and motor and non-motor symptoms were assessed by UPDRS-III, Hoehn and Yahr scale, PD Fatigue Scale, Beck Depression Inventory-II, Starkstein Apathy Scale, and Non-Motor Symptoms Scale.

Results: Significant changes in resting HR, in walked distance (p < 0.05), and in lower limbs muscles strength (p < 0.005) were observed in NWg. Both balance abilities and safety with mobility were increased (p < 0.005). Significant variations in some circumferences and body composition were registered. Finally, a significant improvement in motor and non-motor symptoms was detected: UPDRS-III, HY scale, PFS-16, BDI-II, SAS, NMSS.

Conclusions: A tailored exercise program including NW proved to be an effective way to improve daily activities and both motor and non-motor symptoms in PD patients.

Keywords: Nordic Walking; Parkinson’s disease; body composition; functional performance; motor symptoms; non-motor symptoms.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Composition*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Walking*