|Nordic walking increases energy expenditure when compared to regular walking
The physiological responses to walking with and without poles were studied by Hendrickson (1993) and by Porcari et al. (1997). Hendrickson’s study group consisted of 16 fit women (VO2Max 50 ml/kg/min) and men (59 ml/min/kg). They walked with and without poles on a treadmill at speeds of 6-7.5 km/hr. There were no differences in the responses between males and females.
It was found that the use of poles significantly increased oxygen uptake, heart rate and energy expenditure by approximately 20% compared to walking without poles in fit subjects. In Porcari’s study of 32 healthy men and women walking with poles, results were an average 23% higher oxygen uptake, 22% higher caloric expenditure and 16% higher heart rate responses compared to walking without poles on a treadmill. Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) values averaged 1.5 units higher with the use of poles and the pattern of responses were similar for men and women.
Rogers et al. (1995) compared energy expenditure during submaximal walking with poles in ten 24 year old fit women. Mean maximal aerobic power (21 vs. 18 ml/kg/min) and heart rate (133 vs. 122 bpm) were significantly greater during walking with poles compared to walking without. Also the total caloric expenditure in a 30 minute session was significantly greater during pole walking (74 vs. 141 kcal). In contrast, RPE did not differ significantly between the two conditions.
Laukkanen (1998, unpublished) compared heart rate during normal and fast walking speeds with an without Exel Walker poles. Ten middle-aged men and women were studied on an indoor hall track. The heart rate increase, measured with telemetric Polar heart rate (HR) monitors was between 5-12 bpm and 5-17 bpm higher in men and women.
A dual-motion treadmill Cross Walk has been studied by Knox (1993), Foley (1994) and by Butts et al. (1995). The Cross Walk Dual Motion Cross Trainer is a motorised treadmill designed to increase the energy cost of walking by incorporating arm activity during walking, thus increasing the muscle mass used during exercise.
Knox studied thirty-seven 17-35 year old women and they all performed six 5 minute steady-state exercises with and without arm activity. Walking with arm activity significantly increased heart rate, ventilation, oxygen uptake and energy expenditure compared to walking without arm activity. For example, heart rate increased 17-31 bpm. Rating of perceived exertion as well as energy expenditure increased by an average of 14%. In Butt’s study both the 24-year-old women and men were studied with a similar design. In this study arm work increased energy expenditure by 55% on an average compared to the regular walking, but only increased RPE slightly. This was consistent with the results from Foley, who did Cross Walking in 24-year-old men.