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J Physiol Anthropol. 2013 Feb 13;32(1):2. doi: 10.1186/1880-6805-32-2.

Oxygen uptake, heart rate, perceived exertion, and integrated electromyogram of the lower and upper extremities during level and Nordic walking on a treadmill.

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  • 1Deptartment of Health and Physical Education, Faculty of Education, Shizuoka University, 836 Ohya, Suruga, Shizuoka 422-8529, Japan.


The purpose of this study was to characterize responses in oxygen uptake ( V·O(2)), heart rate (HR), perceived exertion (OMNI scale) and integrated electromyogram (iEMG) readings during incremental Nordic walking (NW) and level walking (LW) on a treadmill. Ten healthy adults (four men, six women), who regularly engaged in physical activity in their daily lives, were enrolled in the study. All subjects were familiar with NW. Each subject began walking at 60 m/min for 3 minutes, with incremental increases of 10 m/min every 2 minutes up to 120 m/min V·O(2), V·(E) and HR were measured every 30 seconds, and the OMNI scale was used during the final 15 seconds of each exercise. EMG readings were recorded from the triceps brachii, vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior muscles. V·O(2) was significantly higher during NW than during LW, with the exception of the speed of 70 m/min (P < 0.01). V·E and HR were higher during NW than LW at all walking speeds (P < 0.05 to 0.001). OMNI scale of the upper extremities was significantly higher during NW than during LW at all speeds (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the iEMG reading for the VL was lower during NW than during LW at all walking speeds, while the iEMG reading for the BF and GA muscles were significantly lower during NW than LW at some speeds. These data suggest that the use of poles in NW attenuates muscle activity in the lower extremities during the stance and push-off phases, and decreases that of the lower extremities and increase energy expenditure of the upper body and respiratory system at certain walking speeds.

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