Takeshima (2002) Water-based exercise improves health-related aspects of fitness in older women

Overview of Water-Based Exercise Benefits for Older Women

Water-based exercise (WEX) offers numerous health benefits for older women, encompassing improvements in various health-related aspects of fitness. This study by Takeshima et al. explores the physiological responses of elderly women to a comprehensive exercise program performed in water.

Study Design and Participants

The research was conducted with 30 volunteers aged between 60–75 years, who were divided into a training group (TR) participating in a 12-week supervised WEX program, and a control group that maintained their normal physical activities. The WEX program included a mix of warm-up, stretching, resistance, endurance-type exercises (like walking and dancing), and cool-down exercises.

Key Findings

Post the 12-week program, significant enhancements were observed in the TR group, including a 12% increase in peak oxygen consumption (V˙O2) and a 20% increase in V˙O2 at lactate threshold, indicating improved cardiorespiratory fitness. Muscular strength across various exercises saw significant increases, ranging from 4% to 13% for different movements. Additionally, there were notable improvements in agility, flexibility, and reductions in body fat and total cholesterol levels, although no significant changes were seen in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) or triglycerides (TG).

Conclusions and Recommendations

The study conclusively demonstrates that water-based exercise is an effective and safe form of physical activity for older women, leading to substantial improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, body composition, and certain blood lipid profiles. Given the low-impact nature of water-based exercises, they represent an ideal option for elderly individuals, potentially reducing the risk of exercise-related injuries and falls. The study underscores the viability of WEX as a component of a holistic exercise regimen for the elderly, encouraging further research into its broader health implications.

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