Physiological and psychological health effects of Nordic walking on sedentary adults

Ann-Marie Knowles, Jessica Hill, Hilary Davies, Bernadette Dancy, Natasha Mistry, Rik Mellor, Glyn Howatson

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To investigate the effects of an eight week Nordic Walking programme on health outcomes in sedentary yet healthy adults. Thirty-nine participants (mean age = 54.6 ± 9.3 years) were randomised to a Nordic (N=20) or standard walking group (N=19) and completed three 55-minute supervised walking sessions per week. Blood pressure, aerobic capacity, lipid profile and anthropometry were assessed and participants completed measures of health-related quality of life, self-esteem, depression and mood pre- and post intervention. There was a significant group interaction for diastolic blood pressure with a trend for lower values in the Nordic Walking group post intervention. There was a significant decrease in waist, hip and upper arm circumference and a significant increase in total distance and averaging exercising heart rate in both walking groups post intervention. There were no significant differences within or between groups for total cholesterol, high and low density lipoprotein however a significant intervention effect was observed for triglycerides. The findings point towards a non-significant improvement in health-related quality of life, selfesteem, depression and mood in both walking groups over time. In line with previous research, an eight-week walking intervention significantly improved aspects of physical and mental health in a sedentary population, although Nordic Walking did not enhance these health benefits compared to standard walking. Further research needs to focus on increasing intervention duration, ensuring mastery of correct technique and monitoring intensity during the intervention period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Sport and Health Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • physical health
  • mental well being
  • sedentary adults
  • Nordic Walking

Cite this

Knowles, A-M., Hill, J., Davies, H., Dancy, B., Mistry, N., Mellor, R., & Howatson, G. (2012). Physiological and psychological health effects of Nordic walking on sedentary adults. Journal of Sport and Health Research, 4(1), 45-56.