Cardiovascular and Metabolic Responses to Water Aerobics Exercise in Middle-Aged and Older Adults

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The purposes of this study were (1) to assess the cardiovascular and metabolic responses to water aerobic exercise and (2) to determine if water aerobics exercise meets the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for improving and maintaining car-diorespiratory fitness.


Fourteen men and women—mean ± SD age 57.4 ± 7.6 y, height 171.3 ± 7.8 cm, weight 89.9 ± 13.9 kg, body-fat percentage 32.5% ± 5.8%, and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) 31.0 ± 8.3 mL · kg−1 · min−1—completed a maximal treadmill exercise test and a 50-min water aerobics session. Cardiovascular and metabolic data were collected via a portable calorimetric measurement system.


Mean exercise intensity was 43.4% of heart-rate reserve and 42.2% of maximal oxygen uptake reserve. Training intensity in metabolic equivalents was 4.26 ± 0.96. Total net energy expenditure for the exercise session was 249.1 ± 94.5 kcal/session.


Results indicate that water aerobics is a feasible alternative to land-based exercise for middle-aged and older adults that fulfills the ACSM guidelines for improving and maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness.

The authors are with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.