Combined Aquatic Exercise for Dementia

Development of combined aquatic exercise program to improve functional fitness and cognitive function for seniors with mild dementia.

Authors: Dong-Keun Kang, Joo-Ha Jung, Jung-Jun Park from the Pusan National University, Sports Science, South Korea; Jeong-Yeon Park from the Dong-a University, Athletic Department, South Korea | November 2015

 

PURPOSE

Aquatic exercise is popular among the seniors. The natural buoyancy of water reduces weight-bearing stress. This allows greater ease of movement with less strain on bones, joints, and muscles compared to other exercises. The purpose of this research was to determine the effect of combined aquatic exercise with music therapy, art therapy and learning therapy on improvements of functional fitness and cognitive function in seniors with mild dementia.

 

METHODS

Twenty two women, aged 65 to 74, participated in this study. They were randomly divided into two groups:

  1. Combined Aquatic Exercise Group (n=12)
  2. Normal Aquatic Exercise Group (n=10)

Both group performed exercise 60 min/day x 3 days/week, for 16 weeks at the intensity of 10-13 RPE. The variables of functional fitness test and CERAD-K’s 10 task tests were used to measure all the subjects. All data was analyzed by independent t-test, two-way repeated ANOVA and paired t-test by using SPSS 22.0.

 

RESULTS

In the case of functional fitness, the Combined Aquatic Exercise Group improved significantly in 2 kg dumbbell curl, 2.44 m up-and go, 6-min walk and the Normal Aquatic Exercise Group improved 2 kg dumbbell curl, 2.44 m up-and go.
In the case of cognitive function the Combined Aquatic Exercise Group improved significantly all 10 task tests, while Normal Aquatic Exercise Group was no significant difference all 10 task tests.

 

CONCLUSIONS

It is concluded that the effect of Combined Aquatic Exercise Group is superior to Normal Aquatic Exercise Group in improvements of functional fitness and cognitive function by increasing sense of sight, hearing, touching, memorizing. Thus, it suggests that combined aquatic exercise is an appropriate exercise, especially for seniors with mild dementia.

 

Source: Exercise Science 2015, vol.24, no.4, pp.415 – 423
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