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Age Ageing. 2016 Sep;45(5):593-601. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afw102. Epub 2016 Jul 4.

The effect of aquatic exercise on physical functioning in the older adult: a systematic review with meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylän yliopisto 40014, Finland.
2
Faculty of Rehabilitation, Józef Piłsudski University of Physical Education, Warsaw, Poland.
3
Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
4
Department of Physiotherapy, Latvian Academy of Sport Education (LASE), Sport Medicine and Adapted Physical Activity, Riga, Latvia.
5
Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

ageing and sedentary behaviour cause negative changes in the neuromuscular systems of healthy older adults resulting in a decrease in physical functioning. Exercising in water (aquatic exercise, AE) has been shown to be effective at improving physical functioning in this population; however, no systematic review with meta-analysis has been published.

PURPOSE:

to investigate the effect of AE on physical functioning in healthy older adults compared to control or land-based exercise (LE) through a systematic review with meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

DATA SOURCES:

Medline, Embase, Cinahl, PEDro, SPORTDiscus, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, published before 31st December 2015.

STUDY SELECTION:

in total, 28 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the systematic review; 24 studies with 1,456 subjects (89% female) and with mean age 66.4 years were included in the meta-analysis.

DATA EXTRACTION:

data were extracted and checked for accuracy by three independent reviewers.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

size of treatment effect was measured using the standardised mean difference with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS:

compared to control interventions, AE had a moderate positive effect on physical functioning 0.70 [95% CI 0.48 to 0.92]. Compared to LE, AE had a small positive effect on physical functioning 0.39 [0.12 to 0.66].

LIMITATIONS:

there is a high risk of bias and low methodological quality in the studies particularly when comparing AE to LE with possible over estimation of the benefit of AE.

CONCLUSIONS:

AE may improve physical functioning in healthy older people and is at least as effective as LE.

KEYWORDS:

activity limitations; aquatic exercise; older adults; physical functioning; systematic review

PMID:
27496935
DOI:
10.1093/ageing/afw102
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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