Nordic walking appears to promote weight loss in overweight people.
Nordic walking is a new trend in some areas and is also a competitive sport. It is a form of a total body walking that is done with ski poles. It is very similar to cross country skiing without the skis and snow. In Finnish, it is called sauvakävely.
The advantages are clear. Compared to regular walking, Nordic walking or pole walking causes more upper body exertion than walking because it involves applying force to the poles with each stride. Nordic walkers, thus, use more of their entire body. It is a much higher intensity workout than walking alone. Nordic walking has been estimated as producing up to nearly 50% increase in energy consumption, compared to walking without poles.
Based on this, it makes perfect sense that Nordic walking would cause more weight loss, but limited research has been done to back this theory. A study from 2019 looked at data from other studies to back this belief. The aim of this review was to analyze the effect of Nordic Walking on anthropometric parameters, body composition, cardiovascular parameters, aerobic capacity, blood sample, and glucose tolerance in overweight and obese subjects.
The researchers looked at other studies that were performed on Nordic walking or pole walking. The researchers found ten prior studies to meet their needs. The results of the review showed positive effects on the anthropometric parameters, body composition, cardiovascular parameters, blood sample, and glucose tolerance. The greatest improvements were observed in the supervised and high weekly frequency of Nordic walking.
The bottom line: The review is promising and indicates that Nordic walking could be considered as an effective modality to promote better health and weight loss in the overweight and obese population. The data indicates that exercises should consider 4-5 episodes per week with 60 minutes per session. I would recommend Nordic walking combined with a healthy diet.
- S. Gobbo et al., “Nordic Walking Promoted Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese People: A Systematic Review for Future Exercise Prescription,” JFMK, p. 36, Jun. 2019 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jfmk4020036