Effects of 12 weeks of Nordic Walking and XCO Walking training on the endurance capacity of older adults

Eur Rev Aging Phys Act. 2017 Sep 12:14:16. doi: 10.1186/s11556-017-0186-2. eCollection 2017.


Background: Several studies have already examined the positive effects of various forms of endurance training in patient groups and in healthy adults up to 60 years old. The aim of this study was to analyse the effects of Nordic Walking (NW) and XCO Walking (XCO) training on endurance capacity in healthy older adults, aged 60 years and older.

Methods: Twenty-three older participants (mean age: 69.9 ± 5.4 years) were randomly assigned to either the NW group or the XCO group. All participants were measured before and after the 12 weeks of endurance training (2 sessions/week) to examine oxygen uptake (VO2) and energy consumption during an outdoor field test. In addition, heart rates were recorded and lactate samples were collected.

Results: NW mainly demonstrated some significant (p < 0.05) decreases in heart rate, lactate concentration at lower to moderate walking speeds, whereas XCO Walking revealed significant (p < 0.05) decreases in lactate concentration and VO2 at low to higher walking speeds.

Conclusions: NW as well as XCO training increase the efficiency of the cardio-vascular system in older subjects. Both training approaches are suitable options for endurance training, which may serve to counteract age- and inactivity-related decreases in cardio-vascular functioning as well as aid in maintaining overall performance in older adults.

Keywords: Aging; Elderly; Endurance capacity; Endurance training; Intervention; Oxygen uptake; Physical activity; Seniors; Walking.