Objective: To ascertain the effectiveness of the National Arthritis Foundation (NAF) aquatic and on-land exercise programs on functional fitness and perceived ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) measures in older adults with arthritis.
Design: The effects of aquatic and on-land exercise intervention programs were analyzed by repeated-measures analysis of variance by using a planned comparison approach with an independent 3 x 2 (group by test) design. omega(2) analyses were used to ascertain the relative treatment magnitude of each dependent variable.
Setting: Testing in an indoor track facility; exercise programs conducted in community settings.
Participants: A volunteer sample of 30 men and women with arthritis (osteoarthritis, n=22; rheumatoid arthritis, n=8), randomly assigned into either an aquatic exercise (n=10), on-land exercise (n=10), or control group (n=10).
Intervention: Eight-week on-land and aquatic exercise program.
Main outcome measures: Functional fitness, ADLs, and hand-held dynamometry measures assessed on a 1-day pretest and posttest session, before and after an 8-week exercise program.
Results: Aquatic and on-land exercise subjects showed significant improvements on 9 of 12 functional fitness, 3 of 4 ADLs, and 7 of 8 hand-held isometric strength tests after their respective exercise programs. No significant changes were found in any of these measures for the control group.
Conclusion: Both NAF exercise programs appear to be effective in improving functional physical fitness and perceived ability to perform ADL measures in older adults with arthritis.