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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2008 Dec;36(6):689-94; discussion 695-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2008.06.036. Epub 2008 Oct 1.

Nordic poles immediately improve walking distance in patients with intermittent claudication.

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Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, Collegiate Crescent Campus, Sheffield, S10 2BP, UK.



To investigate the immediate effects of Nordic pole walking (NPW) on walking distance and cardiopulmonary workload in patients with intermittent claudication.


Using a standardised treadmill test (3.2 km h(-1) at 4% gradient), walking distance, cardiopulmonary responses, leg pain and perceived exertion during NPW were compared to responses evoked by normal walking in 20 patients with intermittent claudication. The distance to onset of claudication pain (claudication distance: CD) and to maximum walking distance (MWD), heart rate (HR), expired gas parameters, leg pain (Borg's CR-10 Scale) and perceived exertion (Borg's Rating of Perceived Exertion: RPE Scale) were compared.


CD increased significantly from a median (range) distance of 77 m (28-503) to 130 m (41-1080) and MWD increased significantly from 206 m (81-1078) to 285 m (107-1080) when patients used the Nordic poles (P=0.000). The level of leg pain at MWD was also significantly reduced during NPW (P=0.002). Perceived exertion at MWD did not increase despite an increase in cardiopulmonary work, as indicated by an increase in oxygen consumption (16.5%; P=0.000).


These results show that NPW immediately enables patients with intermittent claudication to walk further with less pain, despite a higher workload. NPW might also be a useful exercise strategy for improving the cardiovascular fitness of patients with intermittent claudication.

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