Nordic Walking for Overweight and Obese People: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Phys Act Health. 2020 Jun 5;17(7):762-772. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2019-0357.


Background: Nordic walking (NW) is a potentially beneficial exercise strategy for overweight and obese people. To date, no reviews have synthesized the existing scientific evidence regarding the effects of NW on this population. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to identify the characteristics, methodological quality, and results of the investigations that have studied the effects of NW in overweight and obese individuals.

Methods: Six electronic databases were searched up to June 2019 for studies that examined the effects of NW on people with a body mass index ≥ 25 kg/m2. The methodological quality of the included randomized controlled trials was retrieved from the physiotherapy evidence database or evaluated using the physiotherapy evidence database scale.

Results: Twelve studies were included in the review. The investigations were mostly good-to-fair methodological quality. NW groups had a significant improvement on parameters such as fasting plasma glucose, abdominal adiposity, and body fat compared with the baseline, but no significant improvements were found when compared with control groups.

Conclusions: NW can potentially lead to improvements in parameters related to major health outcomes in overweight and obese people. The lack of control for confounding variables in the analyzed studies prevents further elaboration on its potential benefits.

Keywords: exercise; exercise prescription; guidelines and recommendations; obesity.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight* / therapy
  • Walking*