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n International SportMed Journal - Short- and long-term effects of a head-out aquatic exercise programme on body composition, anthropometrics and cardiovascular response of middle-aged women : original research article
Background : The assessment of chronic responses represents a major trend of research in the aquatic environment. Aquatic programmes have gained in popularity due to perceived health benefits.
Research question : The aim of this study was to assess chronic adaptations in middle-aged women participants in a head-out aquatic exercise programme.
Type of study : experimental, prospective.
Methods : Twenty-three middle-aged female subjects participated in a head-out aquatic exercise programme (26 weeks, two sessions per week, 40 minutes per session). Data was collected before starting the programme (pre-test), at the 13th week (post-test 1) and at the 26th week (post-test 2). Body composition was assessed measuring several body skinfolds. Anthropometrical data included measurements of weight, body mass index and several anatomical perimeters. Cardiovascular measures included the resting heart rate, systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressures.
Results : Subjects improved their body composition by decreasing their fat mass. While most anatomical perimeters significantly decreased, weight and the body mass index remained unchanged. The systolic and mean blood pressures decreased while the resting heart rate and the diastolic blood pressure remained stable. The main improvements occurred in the first 13 weeks of the programme, since most variables did not show significant variation from that point forward.
Conclusions : It can be concluded that: (i) a head-out aquatic exercise programme over 26 weeks promotes a significant improvement in body composition, anthropometrics and cardiovascular response of middle-aged women (ii) major adaptations occur in the first 13 weeks of the programme.
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