Differential effects of water-based exercise on the cognitive function in independent elderly adults
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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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
KeywordsWater-based exercise Cognitive function Independent elderly adults
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
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