Zdeněk Svoboda, Pavel Stejskal, Aleš Jakubec, Jakub Krejčí
Acta Universitatis Palackianae Olomucensis. Gymnica, Vol 41, No 2 (2011)

BACKGROUND: Several studies concerning Nordic walking (NW) have been reported on however previous investigations have usually focused only on physiological variables or on the kinematics of a moving subject with poles. Until now, only one study that observed the generation of upper limb force acting on a pole has been presented. In our pilot study NW was observed in a more comprehensive manner by means of physiological and biomechanical methods. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the pilot study was to compare biomechanical and physiological variables during walking without and with poles on the different slopes of the ground. METHODS: One healthy man participated in the study. During treadmill walking, basic temporal, angle, force, energy expenditure and exercise intensity variables were observed. The subject completed two 9 minute tests (NW, normal walking) consisting of three periods of three minutes walking on various slopes of the ground (0 %, 5 %, 10 %). RESULTS: NW on all slopes of the ground, in comparison with walking without poles, the result was lesser hip flexion, knee flexion and ankle dorsal flexion and greater hip extension. Maximal plantar flexion during NW was not influenced by the slope of the ground (in contrast to walking without poles). During NW, frequency decreased on all slopes of the ground. Support impulse and maximal force utilization of the poles showed various differences for right and left limbs. The values of oxygen consumption and heart rate for NW were, in comparison with walking without poles, higher in all experimental situations. CONCLUSIONS: The slope of the ground influences both walking without poles and NW. The reason is greater moving of the centre of mass in a vertical direction. During NW the examined person solved increased energy demands at gentle increases in the slope only by an enhancement of the work of lower limbs, whereas during the overcoming of a major inclination, to maintain the stated speed, it was necessary to enhance the involvement of the upper limbs.

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