In hip osteoarthritis, Nordic Walking is superior to strength training and home-based exercise for improving function

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2017 Aug;27(8):873-886. doi: 10.1111/sms.12694. Epub 2016 Apr 30.


This observer-blinded, randomized controlled trial compared the short- and long-term effects of 4 months of supervised strength training (ST) in a local fitness center, supervised Nordic Walking (NW) in a local park, and unsupervised home-based exercise (HBE, control) on functional performance in 60+-year-old persons (n = 152) with hip osteoarthritis (OA) not awaiting hip replacement. Functional performance [i.e., 30-s chair stand test (primary outcome), timed stair climbing, and 6-min walk test] and self-reported outcomes (i.e., physical function, pain, physical activity level, self-efficacy, and health-related quality of life) were measured at baseline and at 2, 4, and 12 months. Based on intention-to-treat-analyses improvements [mean (95% CI)] after intervention in number of chair stands were equal in all three groups at 4 months [ST: 0.9 (0.2-1.6), NW: 1.9 (0.8-3.0), HBE: 1.1 (0.1-2.0)] but greater in the NW group [1.4 (0.02-2.8)] than in the ST group at 12 months. Generally, improvements in functional performance were greater (P < 0.001-P < 0.03) after NW compared with HBE and ST at all follow-up time points. Furthermore, NW was superior (P < 0.01) to HBE for improving vigorous physical activity and to both ST and HBE for improving (P < 0.01) mental health. These data suggest that NW is the recommended exercise modality compared with ST and HBE.

Keywords: RCT design; aerobic training; exercise therapy; functional performance; hip; osteoarthritis; resistance training.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / rehabilitation*
  • Pain
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Quality of Life
  • Resistance Training*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Walking*