The effects of exercise and diet program in overweight people - Nordic walking versus walking

Clin Interv Aging. 2019 Aug 28;14:1555-1565. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S217570. eCollection 2019.


Purpose: Nordic walking (NW) has been recommended as a form of exercise for clinical populations. Despite intervention programs designed to face a clinical status may last several months, no longitudinal studies have compared the effect of NW to another usual form of exercise, like walking (W). We evaluated the effects of diet combined with a long-supervised NW versus W training on body composition, aerobic capacity and strength in overweight adults.

Patients and methods: Thirty-eight participants, randomized into a NW (n=19, 66±7 years, body mass index (BMI) 33±5)) and a W (n=19, 66±8 years, BMI 32±5) group, followed a diet and a supervised training routine 3 times/week for 6 months. The variables assessed at baseline, after 3 and 6 months were: anthropometric indexes (ie, BMI and waist circumference (WC)), body composition, aerobic capacity (oxygen consumption (VO2peak), peak power output (PPO), 6-min walking test (6MWT)) and strength (maximal voluntary contraction of biceps brachialis (MVCBB) and quadriceps femoris (MVCQF), chair stand and arm curl (AC)).

Results: After 6 months both NW and W group decreased significantly BMI (6% and 4%, respectively) and WC (8% and 4%, respectively), but only the NW group reduced (P<0.05) total body fat (8%), android fat (14%) and leg fat (9%). After 6 months, PPO increased (P<0.05) in both groups, but VO2peak improved (P<0.05) only in the NW group (8%). After 6 months, 6MWT increased (P<0.001) in both groups and only the NW group improved (P<0.05) in MVCBB (14%), MVCQF (17%) and AC (35%).

Conclusion: Our results suggest that NW can give in some relevant health parameters, greater and faster benefits than W. Thus, NW can be a primary tool to counteract the obesity and overweight state in middle-aged adults.

Keywords: body composition; diet; longitudinal study; strength; walking with poles; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiology
  • Waist Circumference
  • Walk Test
  • Walking / physiology*