Context: The aquatic environment provides a low-impact alternative to land-based exercise and rehabilitation in older adults. Objective: Evaluate the biomechanics of older adults and young adults performing jumping movements on land and in water. Design and Setting: Cross-sectional, mixed-factorial experiment; adjustable-depth pool at sports medicine research facility. Participants: Fifty-six young adults (age = 22.0 [3.9] y) and 12 healthy older adults (age = 57.3 [4.4] y). Interventions: Each participant performed 6 maximal effort countermovement jumps: 3 jumps were performed on land, and 3 other jumps were performed with participants immersed in chest-deep water. Main Outcome Measures: Using data from the amortization and propulsive phases of jumping, the authors computed the following kinetic and kinematic measures: peak and mean mechanical power, peak force, amortization time and rate, unweighting and propulsive times, and lower-extremity segment kinematics. Results: Mechanical power outputs were greater in younger adults (peak: 7322  W) versus older adults (peak: 5661.65 [2639.86] W) and for jumps performed in water (peak: 9387  W) versus on land (peak: 4545.84 [1356.53] W). Peak dorsiflexion velocities were greater for jumps performed in water (66  deg/s) versus on land (4  deg/s). The amortization rate was 26% greater in water versus on land. The amortization time was 20% longer in older adults versus young adults. Conclusions: Countermovement jumps performed in water are mechanically specific from those performed on land. Older adults jumped with longer unweighting times and increased mechanical power in water. These results suggest that aquatic-based exercise and rehabilitation programs that feature jumping movements may benefit older adults.
Talin Louder, Dennis Dolny and Eadric Bressel
Eadric Bressel, Gerald Smith, Andrew Miller and Dennis Dolny
Context: Quantification of the magnitudes of fluid resistance provided by water jets (currents) and their effect on energy expenditure during aquatic-treadmill walking is lacking in the scientific literature. Objective: To quantify the effect of water-jet intensity on jet velocity, drag force, and oxygen uptake (VO2) during aquatic-treadmill walking. Design: Descriptive and repeated measures. Setting: Athletic training facility. Participants, Interventions, and Measures: Water-jet velocities were measured using an electromagnetic flow meter at 9 different jet intensities (0-80% maximum). Drag forces on 3 healthy subjects with a range of frontal areas (600, 880, and 1250 cm2) were measured at each jet intensity with a force transducer and line attached to the subject, who was suspended in water. Five healthy participants (age 37.2 ± 11.3 y, weight 611 ± 96 N) subsequently walked (~1.03 m/s or 2.3 miles/h) on an aquatic treadmill at the 9 different jet intensities while expired gases were collected to estimate VO2. Results: For the range of jet intensities, water-jet velocities and drag forces were 0-1.2 m/s and 0-47 N, respectively. VO2 increased nonlinearly, with values ranging from 11.4 ± 1.0 to 22.2 ± 3.8 mL × kg-1 × min-1 for 0-80% of jet maximum, respectively. Conclusions: This study presented methodology for quantifying water-jet flow velocities and drag forces in an aquatic-treadmill environment and examined how different jet intensities influenced VO2 during walking. Quantification of these variables provides a fundamental understanding of aquatic-jet use and its effect on VO2. In practice, these results indicate that VO2 may be substantially increased on an aquatic treadmill while maintaining a relatively slow walking speed.
W. Matthew Silvers, Eadric Bressel, D. Clark Dickin, Garry Killgore and Dennis G. Dolny
Muscle activation during aquatic treadmill (ATM) running has not been examined, despite similar investigations for other modes of aquatic locomotion and increased interest in ATM running.
The objectives of this study were to compare normalized (percentage of maximal voluntary contraction; %MVC), absolute duration (aDUR), and total (tACT) lower-extremity muscle activity during land treadmill (TM) and ATM running at the same speeds.
Exploratory, quasi-experimental, crossover design.
Athletic training facility.
12 healthy recreational runners (age = 25.8 ± 5 y, height = 178.4 ± 8.2 cm, mass = 71.5 ± 11.5 kg, running experience = 8.2 ± 5.3 y) volunteered for participation.
All participants performed TM and ATM running at 174.4, 201.2, and 228.0 m/min while surface electromyographic data were collected from the vastus medialis, rectus femoris, gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior, and biceps femoris.
Main Outcome Measures:
For each muscle, a 2 × 3 repeated-measures ANOVA was used to analyze the main effects and environment–speed interaction (P ≤ .05) of each dependent variable: %MVC, aDUR, and tACT.
Compared with TM, ATM elicited significantly reduced %MVC (−44.0%) but increased aDUR (+213.1%) and tACT (+41.9%) in the vastus medialis, increased %MVC (+48.7%) and aDUR (+128.1%) in the rectus femoris during swing phase, reduced %MVC (−26.9%) and tACT (−40.1%) in the gastrocnemius, increased aDUR (+33.1%) and tACT (+35.7%) in the tibialis anterior, and increased aDUR (+41.3%) and tACT (+29.2%) in the biceps femoris. At faster running speeds, there were significant increases in tibialis anterior %MVC (+8.6−15.2%) and tACT (+12.7−17.0%) and rectus femoris %MVC (12.1−26.6%; swing phase).
No significant environment–speed interaction effects suggested that observed muscle-activity differences between ATM and TM were due to environmental variation, ie, buoyancy (presumed to decrease %MVC) and drag forces (presumed to increase aDUR and tACT) in the water.