The purpose of this study was to assess the difference in maximal physiological responses between an acute bout of deep-water running (DWR) and treadmill running (TMR) in young and older adults. Participants were 9 young and 9 older women who performed maximal DWR and TMR tests. Maximal measures included oxygen consumption (VO2max), heart rate (HRmax), ventilation (VE), respiratory-exchange ratio (RER), and blood lactate (BLac). The young women exhibited higher VO2max, HRmax, VE, and BLac than did the older women for both exercise conditions (p < .05). Lower VO2max and HRmax values were observed with DWR for both age groups (p < .05). No significant differences were found for VE, RER, and BLac in either group between exercise conditions, nor a significant interaction between exercise conditions or ages for any of the variables measured. The data suggest that although older adults exhibit lower maximal metabolic responses, differences between DWR and TMR responses occur irrespective of age.
The authors are with the School of Human Kinetics, and Taunton also with the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Clinic, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1.