Water- versus land-based exercise effects on physical fitness in older women

Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2008 Dec;8(4):265-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2008.00485.x.


Aim: The effectiveness of a water-based exercise (WE) program and a walking on land (WL) program was evaluated in older women (aged 62-65 years).

Methods: Fifty healthy sedentary women were randomly assigned to sedentary (S), WE and WL groups. The two groups were exercised for 12 weeks at 70% of the age-predicted maximum heart rate (HR). The subjects were evaluated before and after the training period, and measurements of bodyweight, HR at rest, maximum aerobic power (VO(2max) mL/kg per min) and neuromuscular performance (upper and lower body strength; agility; upper and lower body flexibility) were included.

Results: After training, bodyweight was unchanged in both programs. The WE decreased the HR at rest by 10%. Both WE and WL enhanced VO(2max) by 42% and 32%, respectively. However, for the WE group the VO(2max) values were significantly higher compared with the WL group (P < 0.05). All neuromuscular parameters improved after exercise, but only the WE group showed a significant improvement on the upper body strength and lower body flexibility. Besides, the upper and lower body strength and upper and lower body flexibility were significantly higher in the WE group compared with the WL group (P < 0.05), respectively.

Conclusions: Current results indicate that the WE and WL programs improved the cardiorespiratory and neuromuscular fitness of older women. Furthermore, when the effectiveness of the training programs were compared, it was verified that the WE program was more powerful in inducing changes in physical fitness versus the WL program.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Pliability
  • Resistance Training*
  • Walking*