, Volume 108, Issue 5, pp 957-964
Date: 04 Dec 2009

Effects of aquatic exercise training using water-resistance equipment in elderly

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To prevent falls in Japan, both gait and resistance training of the lower extremities are recommended. However, resistance training for the elderly induces muscle damage. Recently, aquatic exercise using water buoyancy and resistance have commonly been performed by the elderly. We have now produced new water-resistance equipment. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of aquatic exercise training using the new equipment for the elderly. Subjects were divided into two groups: a resistance group of 12 subjects (using water-resistance equipment) and a non-resistance group of eight subjects (without the equipment). The aquatic exercise training was 90 min, three times per week for 8 weeks, and mostly consisted of walking. All subjects underwent anthropometric measurements, physical performance testing, and profile of mood states (POMS). Significant improvements were observed in muscle strength in plantar flexion, and the timed up and go test (TUG) in both groups. Additionally, 10-m obstacle walking and 5-m maximum walking speed and length with eye-open were significantly improved in the resistance group. Also, a low negative correlation was found between the degree of change in TUG and POMS (tension and anxiety) scores in the resistance group. As it became easier to maintain posture, stand, and move, tension and anxiety in everyday life were alleviated with improvement of strength of the lower extremities and balance function. The present aquatic exercise training using water-resistance equipment may be used by the elderly to improve balance and walking ability, which are associated with the prevention of falls.

Communicated by Jean-René Lacour.