The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of an 8-week Nordic walking (NW) intervention on older adult gait patterns and postural alignment. Twelve healthy older adults aged 60–80 years (8 female, 4 male) participated, all performing two 6-min walk tests (one with poles [WP], one without poles [NP]) and six 5-m walk trials (3 WP, 3 NP) at pre- and posttesting. Gait and postural variables were compared between poling conditions (i.e., WP to NP) as well as before and following the intervention. Following training, pole use resulted in various gait changes including: longer stride, faster gait, and increased power generation at the hip (H3) and power absorption at the knee (K1 and K4). We conclude that an initial 8-week training period is necessary for novice NW to perfect technique and to restore gait to a more natural, normal pattern following training.
Dalton and Nantel are with the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.