Effects of aqua aerobic therapy exercise for older adults on muscular strength, agility and balance to prevent falling during gait.
Fall-related injuries are high in the developed countries. There are many factors that can cause falls by older adults such as joint instability and muscle imbalance, reduction in joint range of motion, reduction in the ability to ambulate proficiently, and deficiencies in lower body strength. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of an aqua aerobic therapy exercise for older adults on biomechanical and physiological factors affecting gait. A total of 15 subjects participated in this study and they were randomly divided into the experimental and the control group.
Physiological variables, leg strength, power and flexibility, and biomechanical variables, both kinematic and kinetic, were measured before and after the aqua aerobic therapy exercise. Each subject was instructed to walk along an elevated walkway and during the trials a trapdoor opened at random to create a 10 cm falling perturbation. Full body motion and kinetics was gathered during the gait.
There were significant reductions in body weight, and body fat mass, and stride time after the perturbation. Significant increases in leg strength corresponded to the maximum joint moment of the landing leg showing that the subjects’ ability for recovery of balance after the perturbation improved. As the results showed significant improvements in gait pattern and recovery time after perturbed gait, it seemed that aqua aerobic therapy is an effective exercise method for training older adults to reduce their risk of falling. > From: Kim et al., J Phys Ther Sci 25 (2013) 923-927. All rights reserved to the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.
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