This study examined the effects of an instructed structured Nordic walking (NW) exercise program on the functional capacity of older sedentary people. Volunteers were randomly assigned to an NW group (68.2 ± 3.8 yr old) or control group (69.9 ± 3.0 yr old). Before and at the end of the 9-wk intervention, functional tests and 2-dimensional ground-reaction-force (GRF) patterns of normal (1.40 m/s) and fast (1.94 m/s) walking speeds were measured. The intervention included a 60-min supervised NW session on an inside track twice a week for 9 wk. The mean changes in functional tests differed between groups significantly. Gait analyses showed no significant differences between the groups on any GRF parameters for walking speed either before or after the intervention. The study showed that NW has favorable effects on functional capacity in older people and is a suitable form of exercise for them.
Parkatti is with the Dept. of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland. Perttunen is with Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Tampere, Finland. Wacker is professor emerita at Longwood University, Farmville, VA.