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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
APPLIED SCIENCES: Physical Fitness and Performance

Water-based exercise improves health-related aspects of fitness in older women

TAKESHIMA, NOBUO; ROGERS, MICHAEL E.; WATANABE, EIJI; BRECHUE, WILLIAM F.; OKADA, AKIYOSHI; YAMADA, TADAKI; ISLAM, MOHAMMOD M.; HAYANO, JYUNICHIROU

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Abstract

TAKESHIMA, N., M. E. ROGERS, E. WATANABE, W. F. BRECHUE, A. OKADA, T. YAMADA, M. M. ISLAM, and J. HAYANO. Water-based exercise improves health-related aspects of fitness in older women. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 33, No. 3, pp. 544–551, 2002.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the physiological responses of elderly women to a well-rounded exercise program performed in water (WEX).

Methods: The participants (60–75 yr of age) were randomly divided into a training (TR) group (N = 15) and a control group (N = 15). The TR group participated in a 12-wk supervised WEX program, 70 min·day−1, 3 d·wk−1. The WEX consisted of 20 min of warm-up and stretching exercise, 10 min of resistance exercise, 30 min of endurance-type exercise (walking and dancing), and 10 min of cool-down exercise.

Results: The WEX led to an increase (P < 0.05) in peak V̇O2 (12%) and V̇O2 at lactate threshold (20%). Muscular strength evaluated by a hydraulic resistance machine increased significantly at resistance dial setting 8 (slow) for knee extension (8%), knee flexion (13%), chest press (7%) and pull (11%), shoulder press (4%) and pull (6%), and back extension (6%). Vertical jump (9%), side-stepping agility (22%), trunk extension (11%), and FEV1.0 (7%) also increased significantly. There was a significant decrease in skin-fold thickness (−8%), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (−17%), and total cholesterol (−11%). There were no significant changes in these variables in the control group.

Conclusion: These results indicate that WEX elicits significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, body fat, and total cholesterol in older adult women. Water-based exercise appears to be a very safe and beneficial mode of exercise that can be performed as part of a well-rounded exercise program.

©2002The American College of Sports Medicine

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