Nordic walking requires custom Nordic Poles, which offer less balance support than traditional trekking poles. The tradeoff of "burning more calories," based on this study, appears not to be worth it. -D

Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders

Volume 46, November 2020, 102479
Original article

Nordic walking for people with relapsing-remittent multiple sclerosis: A case series study.


•Scant research exists regarding the impact of nordic walking on people with multiple sclerosis.
•Nordic walking seems not to be a feasible therapy for people with multiple sclerosis.
•Nordic walking has minimal effects on fatigue, quality of life and functioning in this population.


Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) show fatigue, impaired gait and decreased functional mobility, which lead to a low quality of life (QoL). Low-cost and easy to perform exercise modalities having a positive impact on the aforementioned symptoms are needed. The performance of Nordic Walking (NW) could be a useful rehabilitation strategy but, to our knowledge, no study has been published in this regard as yet. This case series study aims at providing information regarding the usefulness and impact of a three-month NW program on self-perceived fatigue, functional mobility, physical fitness and QoL on a group of people with mild relapsing-remitting MS.

A case series study with multiple assessments was performed. Three data collection points at 1-week intervals for three weeks were done at baseline. The intervention consisted of a 12-weeks NW program with a total of four measurement occasions, one every three weeks. The Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), the Timed up and Go test (TUG), the 6-Minute Walk test (6MWT) and the Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS-29), were used to assess the outcomes of the program on the participants’ self-perceived fatigue, functional mobility, physical fitness and QoL, respectively.

Of the 14 participants who volunteered for the study, five completed at least 80% of the planned sessions and were included in the final analysis. The intervention did not have a clinical significant impact on the participants’ fatigue while its impact on their QoL showed mixed results. Positive trends were found for all the participants in their functional mobility and physical fitness. Regarding functional mobility, clinically important changes were observed in three participants. None of the observed changes in physical fitness achieved clinical significance.

A 12-week Nordic walking program did not appear to be particularly feasible and had little impact on the functional levels on a group of people with mild relapsing-remitting MS. Given that beneficial effects were seen in some participants, and taken into account the low adherence rate observed, future studies should explore the feasibility of NW programs performed under different environmental conditions (i.e. outdoors) and including motivational strategies aimed at increasing participation.