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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1235;

Physiological and Perceptual Responses to Nordic Walking in a Natural Mountain Environment

Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Via Marzolo, 3, 35131 Padova, Italy
CeRiSM, Sport Mountain Health Research Center, 38068 Rovereto, Italy
Centre for Health, Exercise and Sport Science, Southampton Solent University, Southampton SO14 0YN, UK
Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 August 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Background: Interest around Nordic Walking (NW) has increased in recent years. However, direct comparisons of NW with normal walking (W), particularly in ecologically valid environments is lacking. The aim of our study was to compare NW and W, over long distances in a natural mountain environment. Methods: Twenty one subjects (13 male/8 female, aged 41 ± 12 years, body mass index BMI 24.1 ± 3.7), walked three distinct uphill paths (length 2.2/3.4/7 km) with (NW) or without (W) walking poles over two separate days. Heart rate (HR), energy expenditure (EE), step length (SL), walking speed (WS), total steps number (SN) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were monitored. Results: HR (+18%) and EE (+20%) were higher in NW than in W whilst RPE was similar. SN (−12%) was lower and SL (+15%) longer in NW. WS was higher (1.64 vs. 1.53 m s−1) in NW. Conclusions: Our data confirm that, similarly to previous laboratory studies, differences in a range of walking variables are present between NW and W when performed in a natural environment. NW appears to increase EE compared to W, despite a similar RPE. Thus, NW could be a useful as aerobic training modality for weight control and cardiorespiratory fitness. View Full-Text
Keywords: pole walking locomotion; energy expenditure; RPE; natural environment; trekking pole walking locomotion; energy expenditure; RPE; natural environment; trekking

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Grainer, A.; Zerbini, L.; Reggiani, C.; Marcolin, G.; Steele, J.; Pavei, G.; Paoli, A. Physiological and Perceptual Responses to Nordic Walking in a Natural Mountain Environment. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1235.

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