Water Exercise and Its Effect on Balance and Gait to Reduce the Risk of Falling in Older Adults

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Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date



The purpose of this research was to compare the effect of land-based and water-based exercise on gait and balance in two groups of women 65 years and older who engaged in regular exercise. Gait and balance was assessed with the Tinetti Gait and Balance Assessment. The Health Survey SF36v2 and a demographic/health survey were used to collect information concerning overall health and to identify other factors influencing the risk to fall. Forty-three women were recruited, 20 from land-based and 23 from water-based exercise programs. The findings indicated water exercise may contribute a positive benefit on balance and gait for women 65 years and older. No significant differences were found in the gait and balance scores between the two groups, after controlling for significant risk factors for falling. The results suggest that both types of exercise may be similarly beneficial on balance and gait and thereby reduce the risk for falls. Water-based exercise could be considered as an alternate exercise activity for seniors, especially if land-based exercise is difficult due to chronic musculoskeletal disorders.


This article was originally published in Activities, Adaptation & Aging. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Activities, Adaptation & Aging