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Res Q Exerc Sport. 1997 Jun;68(2):161-6.

The physiological responses to walking with and without Power Poles on treadmill exercise.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, USA.


Power Poles are specially constructed, rubber-tipped ski poles designed for use during walking. Using Power Poles simulates the arm motion of cross-country skiing, thus increasing the muscle mass used during walking. This study investigated the potential increases in exercise intensity and energy cost associated with the use of walking poles. Thirty-two apparently healthy volunteers (16 men and 16 women) between the ages of 19 and 33 years participated. Each completed a treadmill maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) test and two randomly assigned, submaximal walking trials (one with poles and one without poles) on separate days. Each walking trial was conducted on a level treadmill, for 20 minutes, at an identical self-selected pace. Expired gases, heart rate in beats per minute (bpm), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded each minute. Results between trials were compared using repeated measures analysis of variance and Tukey's post hoc tests. It was found that walking with poles resulted in an average of 23% (4.4 higher VO2, 22% higher caloric expenditure (1.5 kcal.min-1), and 16% (18 bpm) higher heart rate responses compared to walking without poles on a treadmill. RPE values averaged 1.5 units higher with the use of the poles, and the pattern of responses between conditions was similar for men and women. It is concluded that the use of Power Poles can increase the intensity of walking at a given speed and, thus, may provide additional training benefits to walkers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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