Preprint / Version 1

Are 8 weeks of Nordic Walking training sufficient to benefit cognitive performance in healthy older adults?


  • Marta Maria Torre Institut des Sciences du Mouvement, UMR7287, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Marseille, France
  • Clelia Carrubba Institut des Sciences du Mouvement, UMR7287, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Marseille, France 163, Avenue de Luminy 13288, Marseille cedex 09 (FRANCE)
  • Antoine Langeard Normandie Université, UNICAEN, INSERM, COMETE, CYCERON, Caen, France 2, rue des Rochambelles CS 14032 14 032 CAEN Cedex (FRANCE)
  • Nicolas Hugues INMED, INSERM, Aix Marseille Université, Marseille, France 163, Avenue de Luminy 13288, Marseille cedex 09 (FRANCE)
  • Jérôme Laurin INMED, INSERM, Aix Marseille Université, Marseille, France 163, Avenue de Luminy 13288, Marseille cedex 09 (FRANCE)
  • Jean-Jacques Temprado Institut des Sciences du Mouvement, UMR7287, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Marseille, France 163, Avenue de Luminy 13288, Marseille cedex 09 (FRANCE)



Aging, Exercise, cognition


Introduction: Nordic walking (NW) requires the association of walking and coordination of limbs while orienteering in a natural environment, and it has been shown to improve functional capacities more than normal walking. However, cognitive benefits are less clear.

Purpose: The main hypothesis was that NW training improves visuospatial capacities and inhibition functions.

Methods: 14 healthy older adults were included. NW training was performed 3 sessions of 75 min a week for 8 weeks. Pre-, intermediate, and post-tests were carried out. Cognitive functions including global cognition (MoCA), executive functions (Color-Words Stroop test), information processing speed, switching capacities (Trail Making Test – A and B), and visuospatial capacities (Rey Complex Figure Copy Task), were assessed. Motor functions including balance control (Unipedal Balance Test), functional mobility (Timed Up and Go), hamstring flexibility (Chair-Sit and Reach test), and motor coordination (Four-Square Stepping Test) were evaluated and physical function including lower limb strength (Timed Sit-To-Stand), and cardiovascular capacities (Incremental Shuttle Walking Test) was measured.

Results: Cardio-vascular capacity, strength of lower limbs and coordination were positively affected by training. NW improved visuospatial capacities. Switching capacities, information processing speed and executive functions did not improve, probably needing longer programs to show benefits. However, analyses of respondents suggested that NW positively affected cognitive functioning in a subpart of participants.

Conclusion: 8 weeks of NW training was enough to produce some physical, motor and cognitive improvements. Longer training duration could be necessary to extend the benefits to executive functions.


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