Quality of life and physical performance in land- and water-based pulmonary rehabilitation

J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. Jul-Aug 2007;27(4):247-51. doi: 10.1097/01.HCR.0000281772.28394.30.


Purpose: Traditional land-based pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has been shown to provide improvement in physical performance and quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The training effects of a water environment in pulmonary patients have only been briefly investigated. The purpose of this retrospective study was to compare quality of life and physical performance in land- and water-based PR.

Methods: The study included participants of a land- or water-based PR program. Twenty land- and water-based participants with stable COPD disease were retrospectively matched within 20 mL of their forced expiratory ventilation in 1 second. A multivariate analysis of variance was performed on each group's 6-minute walk test distance; 6-repetition maximum strength tests for the knee, hip, and shoulder; and mental and physical health summary scores of the Medical Outcomes Short-form 36.

Results: Each group significantly improved in all outcome measurements, but there was no difference found in the improvements between the land- or water-based groups.

Conclusion: Clinicians can consider water-based PR exercise program as another treatment option, if available, for patients with COPD and expect similar benefits to traditional land-based PR programs including improved walk distances, strength, and perception of well-being.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome