McNamara et al (2013) Water-based exercise training for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (review)


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive respiratory condition marked by obstructed airflow from the lungs, leading to breathing difficulties. Traditional management includes land-based exercise training to enhance physical capacity and life quality. However, water-based exercise training presents an alternative, potentially beneficial for older individuals or those with coexisting conditions that limit land-based exercise capabilities.

Water-Based Exercise Efficacy

The review by McNamara et al. (2013) explored the impact of water-based exercise training on individuals with COPD, highlighting its potential in improving exercise capacity and quality of life. The study enrolled participants with varying degrees of COPD severity, emphasizing inclusivity and relevance to a broad patient spectrum.

Methodological Insights

The reviewed studies incorporated a range of water-based exercises, including strength and endurance training in a pool setting. These exercises were tailored to mirror land-based routines, ensuring comparability and maintaining exercise intensity. The training sessions spanned several weeks, offering a structured and progressive exercise regimen to participants.

Key Findings

The analysis revealed significant enhancements in exercise capacity among participants engaged in water-based training compared to those with no exercise regimen. Notably, water-based exercises outperformed land-based exercises in boosting endurance, showcasing the unique benefits of exercising in an aquatic environment.

Quality of Life Improvements

Participants undergoing water-based training reported improved quality of life metrics, affirming the holistic benefits of such exercise programs. These findings underscore the potential of water-based exercises in not only enhancing physical capabilities but also in uplifting psychological well-being among individuals with COPD.

Safety and Accessibility

Water-based exercises were found to be safe, with minimal adverse events reported, highlighting their suitability for individuals with COPD. This mode of exercise could be particularly advantageous for patients with physical limitations or those seeking a low-impact exercise option.

Future Directions

While the evidence supports the efficacy of water-based exercise for COPD patients, further research is needed to explore long-term outcomes and the impact of disease severity on exercise benefits. Expanding the scope of research to include diverse patient groups and varying exercise protocols will enrich the understanding of water-based exercise’s role in COPD management.


Water-based exercise training emerges as a viable and effective alternative to traditional land-based programs for individuals with COPD. By improving exercise capacity and quality of life, this approach offers a promising avenue for holistic COPD management, warranting further exploration and integration into rehabilitation programs.

Keywords: COPD, water-based exercise, rehabilitation, exercise capacity, quality of life

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