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Physiother Res Int. 2016 Sep;21(3):147-54. doi: 10.1002/pri.1628. Epub 2015 Apr 17.

Effect of Water Immersion on Dual-task Performance: Implications for Aquatic Therapy.

Author information

1
Motor Rehabilitation and Learning Laboratory, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA.
2
Biomechanics Laboratory, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA.
3
John Worley Sports Medicine Research Center, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA.
4
Sport Performance Research Institute, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Much is known about cardiovascular and biomechanical responses to exercise during water immersion, yet an understanding of the higher-order neural responses to water immersion is unclear. The purpose of this study was to compare cognitive and motor performance between land and water environments using a dual-task paradigm, which served as an indirect measure of cortical processing.

DESIGN:

A quasi-experimental crossover research design is used.

METHODS:

Twenty-two healthy participants (age = 24.3 ± 5.24 years) and a single-case patient (age = 73) with mild cognitive impairment performed a cognitive (auditory vigilance) and motor (standing balance) task separately (single-task condition) and simultaneously (dual-task condition) on land and in chest-deep water. Listening errors from the auditory vigilance task and centre of pressure (CoP) area for the balance task measured cognitive and motor performance, respectively.

RESULTS:

Listening errors for the single-task and dual-task conditions were 42% and 45% lower for the water than land condition, respectively (effect size [ES] = 0.38 and 0.55). CoP area for the single-task and dual-task conditions, however, were 115% and 164% lower on land than in water, respectively, and were lower (≈8-33%) when balancing concurrently with the auditory vigilance task compared with balancing alone, regardless of environment (ES = 0.23-1.7). This trend was consistent for the single-case patient.

CONCLUSION:

Participants tended to make fewer 'cognitive' errors while immersed chest-deep in water than on land. These same participants also tended to display less postural sway under dual-task conditions, but more in water than on land. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

KEYWORDS:

aquatic therapy; brain activity; hydrotherapy; postural sway; rehabilitation

PMID:
25891889
DOI:
10.1002/pri.1628
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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