<bold>Purpose.</bold> The purpose of this study was to analyze scientific evidence on the effects that Nordic Walking (NW) has on the human body. <bold>Basic procedures.</bold> A comprehensive search of computer databases (MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus) was conducted to identify relevant English and Polish studies on NW that were published from 1995 to 2009 and based on scientific research. <bold>Main findings.</bold> A total of 26 studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of studies (12) discussed physiological issues, eleven studies were dedicated to NW as a form of rehabilitation (including one case study), and three studies focused on biomechanical issues present in NW. <bold>Conclusions.</bold> Not all of the widely promoted benefits of NW were confirmed in the results of the found scientific studies. Often analyzed issues did not provide sufficient explanation. There is a large discrepancy in the results of physiological responses during NW in a variety of conditions (on a treadmill with/without grade; field - uphill/downhill/horizontal level terrain). The results of studies analyzing the effects of NW training as a form of rehabilitation particularly in the areas of cardiology confirmed the positive aspects of including NW towards a patient's rehabilitation after acute coronary syndrome, with intermittent claudication, and after coronary artery disease, or after myocardial infarction. Contrary to popular belief and previously done studies, recent research has shown that NW does not reduce the loading of the knee joint.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.