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Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 149–159 | Cite as

Differential effects of water-based exercise on the cognitive function in independent elderly adults

  • Daisuke Sato
  • Chihiro Seko
  • Tatsuya Hashitomi
  • Yasuo Sengoku
  • Takeo Nomura
Original Article

Abstract

Background

Physical exercise has been reported to be the most effective method to improve cognitive function and brain health, but there is as yet no research on the effect of water-based exercise.

Aims

The aim of the present study was to compare the effects of water-based exercise with and without cognitive stimuli on cognitive and physical functions.

Methods

The design is a single-blind randomized controlled study. Twenty-one participants were randomly assigned to a normal water-based exercise (Nor-WE) group or a cognitive water-based exercise (Cog-WE) group. The exercise sessions were divided into two exercise series: a 10-min series of land-based warm-up, consisting of flexibility exercises, and a 50-min series of exercises in water. The Nor-WE consisted of 10 min of walking, 30 min of strength and stepping exercise, including stride over, and 10 min of stretching and relaxation in water. The Cog-WE consisted of 10 min of walking, 30 min of water-cognitive exercises, and 10 min of stretching and relaxation in water. Cognitive function, physical function, and ADL were measured before the exercise intervention (pre-intervention) and 10 weeks after the intervention (post-intervention).

Results

Participation in the Cog-WE performed significantly better on the pegboard test and the choice stepping reaction test and showed a significantly improved attention, memory, and learning, and in the general cognitive function (measured as the total score in the 5-Cog test). Participation in the Nor-WE dramatically improved walking ability and lower limb muscle strength.

Conclusion

Our results reveal that the benefits elderly adults may obtain from water-based exercise depend on the characteristics of each specific exercise program. These findings highlight the importance of prescription for personalized water-based exercises to elderly adults to improve cognitive function.

Keywords

Water-based exercise Cognitive function Independent elderly adults 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan. It was also supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Advanced Research from the Niigata University of Health and Welfare. The authors would like to thank Enago (www.enago.jp) for the English language review.

Conflict of interest

None.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daisuke Sato
    • 1
  • Chihiro Seko
    • 2
  • Tatsuya Hashitomi
    • 3
  • Yasuo Sengoku
    • 4
  • Takeo Nomura
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute for Human Movement and Medical SciencesNiigata University of Health and WelfareNiigataJapan
  2. 2.School of Health and Physical EducationUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, Master’s Program in Health and Sport SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of Health and Sport SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  5. 5.Tsukuba Aqua Life Research CenterTsukubaJapan

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