Cardiovascular and metabolic responses to water aerobics exercise in middle-age and older adults

Amy L Nikolai, Brittany A Novotny, Cortney L Bohnen, Kathryn M Schleis, Lance C Dalleck
Journal of Physical Activity & Health 2009, 6 (3): 333-8

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was (a) to assess the cardiovascular and metabolic responses to water aerobic exercise and (b) to determine if water aerobics exercise meets the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for improving and maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness.

METHODS: Fourteen men and women (mean +/- SD age, height, weight, body fat percentage, and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max): = 57.4 +/- 7.6 years, 171.3 +/- 7.8 cm, 89.9 +/- 13.9 kg, 32.5 +/- 5.8%, and 31.0 +/- 8.3 mL/kg/min, respectively) completed a maximal treadmill exercise test and 50-min water aerobics session. Cardiovascular and metabolic data were collected via a portable calorimetric measurement system.

RESULTS: Mean exercise intensity was 43.4% and 42.2% of heart rate reserve (HRR) and maximal oxygen uptake reserve (VO2R), respectively. Training intensity in metabolic equivalents (METS) was 4.26 +/- 0.96. Total net energy expenditure for the exercise session was 249.1 +/- 94.5 kcal/session.

CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that water aerobics is a feasible alternative to land-based exercise for middle-aged and older adults that fulfills the ACSM guidelines for improving and maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness.

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