The purpose of the present study was to determine the effectiveness of a 24-week aquatic training (AT) program, which included both aerobic and resistance components, on muscle strength (isometric and dynamic), flexibility, and functional mobility in healthy women over 60 years of age. Twenty-two subjects were assigned randomly to either an AT (n = 12) or a control (C, n = 10) group. Volunteers participated in a supervised shallow-water exercise program for 60 minutes a day, 3 days a week; the exercise program consisted of a 10-minute warm-up and stretching, 25 minutes of endurance-type exercise (dancing) at 80% of heart rate (HR)max, 20 minutes of upper- and lower-body resistance exercises with specialized water-resistance equipment, and a 5-minute cool down. Maximal isometric torque of knee extensors (KEXT) and knee flexors (KFLEX) were evaluated by a Cybex Norm dynamometer, grip strength (HGR) was evaluated using a Jamar hydraulic dynamometer, and dynamic strength was evaluated via the 3 repetition maximum (3RM) test for chest press, knee extension, lat pull down, and leg press. Jumping performance was evaluated using the squat jump (SJ), functional mobility with the timed up-and-go (TUG) test, and trunk flexion with the sit-and-reach test. Body composition was measured using the bioelectrical impedance method. The AT induced significant improvements in KEXT (10.5%) and KFLEX (13.4%) peak torque, HGR strength (13%), 3RM (25.7-29.4%), SJ (24.6%), sit-and-reach (11.6%), and TUG (19.8%) performance. The AT group demonstrated a significant increase in lean body mass (3.4%). No significant changes in these variables were observed in the C group. The results indicate that AT, with both aerobic and resistance components, is an alternative training method for improving neuromuscular and functional fitness performance in healthy elderly women.
(C) 2006 National Strength and Conditioning Association