Apple Watch 9/WatchOS 10 not recording Cardio Fitness for Nordic Walking

I use an Apple Watch 9 (currently with WatchOS 10.5) to track my daily outdoor walks using the Outdoor Walk option of the Watch’s Workout app. These walks last for almost an hour and over nearly three miles of flatish pavement (sidewalk). Until a few days ago I was seeing incremental improvement in my Cardio Fitness (VO2 Max) recordings but since I started using a pair of Nordic Walking Poles no VO2 Max values have been recorded despite my pace remaining the same (in the range of 18–19 minutes a mile)! With improved Cardio Fitness being an acknowledge benefit of using such poles Health Benefits of Nordic Walking: A Systematic Review I want to keep tracking my improvement.

Indeed the lack of such crucial data over the last few days is really buggging me. It is a long shot but has anyone else here experienced the same problem and if so did you find a remedy for this omission? Maybe you switched to a different Workout in the app. Or running the beta WatchOS 11 which has been reported to include a Cross Country Skiing workout; one of the original ideas for Nordic Walking Poles was as a training aid for skiers during the snow-less summer months.

I am wondering if the change in hand movement from holding the poles is causing the problem.
If you don’t hole a pole in your watch hand does the VO2 Max calculation reappear?
If you mimic your hand motion holding the poles without poles does the calculation reappear.
If you wear you watch on your ankle (so independent of hand motion) does the calculation reappear?
Good luck.

Thanks for the debugging tips.

Hesitant to go with this one as the poles give me lateral stability especially needed because of the unevenness of the pavements (sidewalks) around here.

Yes it does. Between introductory sessions with poles and buying my own pair I practiced the quasi-marching coordination of left arm/right leg and right arm/left leg the cardio fitness data was recorded.

Perhaps there is some Watch “gesture” that is getting in way. (Will try turning “double tap” off as I do not use it.)

Currently I use strapless poles but more advanced practitioners use strapped ones which means the hands do not have to curl around the handles. Hope I do not have to wait until my Nordic Walking skills are developed sufficiently to switch to a strapped pair of poles.

Would never have thought of that idea. Good for debugging but not practical for daily use as there are occasions when the workout has to be paused; at roughly midway point there are my local pharmacy and the greengrocers. Might be a problem as my ankles are much thicker than my wrists and the longest sports watch band I use only just copes with my wrist circumference.

Obviously I need to experiment more.

Amazon sells longer bands for Apple Watch.
Some people put the watch on their bicep instead of wrist.