Exercise in a water medium reduces weight-bearing stresses on the skeletal joints, which may be advantageous for older individuals needing rehabilitation. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of nonswimming exercises on muscle endurance, % body fat, and aerobic work capacity of an older adult population. Twelve subjects were in an exercise group (10 females and 2 males), and 8 were in a control group (5 females and 3 males). The mean ages of the groups were 65 (± 5.29) years and 56 (± 6.78) years, respectively. Before and after 12 weeks of training, subjects were measured 3 times weekly for resting heart rate, maximum heart rate, VO2 max, body composition, and work capacity in water. A general linear model ANCOVA was used with age as the covariate. The exercise group improved significantly (p<.05) on all dependent variables examined except body composition after 12 weeks. However, the control group experienced no significant changes on any variable over this period. In the comparisons between groups, the exercise group significantly surpassed the control group on all variables except body composition, where neither group experienced change. Nonswimming exercises appear to be a viable and effective means to improve cardiorespiratory function and physical work capacity of the elderly.
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1994;19(3):140-145.
Key Words: water exercise, older adults, nonswimming exercise