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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2018 June;58(6):802-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07307-8


language: English

Water versus land-based exercises as physical training programs in elderly

Elvira PADUA 1, 2 , Francesca CAMPOLI 1, 2, Vincenzo MANZI 3, Michele PANZARINO 1, 2, Mauro LOMBARDO 1, Giovanni MELCHIORRI 4, Virginia TANCREDI 1, 4, Pietro LEBONE 2, 4, Francesco PALAZZO 4, Giuseppe ANNINO 4

1 Department of Human Sciences and Promotion of the Quality of Life, San Raffaele Roma Open University, Rome, Italy; 2 Accademia Nazionale di Cultura Sportiva, Rome, Italy; 3 I.R.C.S.S. San Raffaele Pisana, Rome, Italy; 4 School of Human Movement Science, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy


BACKGROUND: The study aims to analyze and quantify the improvements of some physical skills in a group of subjects over 65 years old who practice regular activities in the gym and in a microgravity environment.
METHODS: The study included 132 subjects (68.9±5.5 years, 72.7±14.4 kg, 155.3±9.2, 30.6±5 kg/m2) who perform regular physical activity adapted and controlled for the elderly twice a week (50’ per session) for a period of 8 months. The tests evaluate flexibility, abdominal and leg strength and balance. The groups, in baseline, are homogeneous between them to anthropometric parameters and the initial performance of motor skills analyzed. A mixed between-within subject ANOVA was conducted to assess the impact of the training regimens. Data from this study showed an increase in muscular strength (leg and abdominal muscles), body balance and muscular flexibility after 8 months of both training methods.
RESULTS: Both experimental groups had significant improvements in motor skills considered and interesting results were observed in water activity, overall, in balance (+66%, P<0.001) and abdominal muscular strength (+16%, P<0.001) where the water group showed a significant within and between improvement.
CONCLUSIONS: Current results indicate that the water and land programs improved motor skills in the elderly. Furthermore, when the effectiveness of the training programs was compared, it was verified that the water group has recorded major changes, overall on abdominal strength and balance test statistically significant versus the land group.

KEY WORDS: Exercise test - Aged - Muscle strength - Postural balance

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