Metabolic and Cardiovascular Responses in Older Women During Shallow-Water Exercise

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Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

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The purpose of this investigation was to examine the metabolic and cardiovascular demands of shallow-water exercise in older women. Sixteen active older women who were not taking cardiac medication participated in this investigation (mean ± SE; age, 66.4 ± 1.2 years). Testing included (a) resting metabolic rate and heart rate; (b) performing 5 8-minute, evenly paced, self-selected, submaximal, shallow-water exercise bouts. Expired air was collected during the final 3 minutes of each bout while the heart rate was recorded with a Polar heart rate monitor; and (c) a 40-minute water exercise class in which heart rate was monitored. One metabolic equivalent (MET) equaled 2.7 ± 0.1 mlO2·min−1·kg−1, whereas resting heart rate was 63.4 ± 2.2 b·min−1. Average sub-maximal MET and heart rate responses for exercise bouts 1–5 ranged from 2.8 ± 0.1 to 5.8 ± 0.3 and 89.7 ± 3.0 to 119.5 ± 3.3 b·min−1, respectively. The rate of perceived exertion (RPE; Borg scale) response for bouts 1–5 ranged from 8.0 ± 0.3 to 12.5 ± 0.4. A linear relationship between MET vs. heart rate was found for each participant, with all r values greater than 0.97 (p < 0.05). The estimated MET and measured HR responses for the 40-minute water exercise class were as follows: warm-up, 4.0 ± 0.3 and 99.5 ± 3.4; body of workout, 5.2 ± 0.4 and 110.0 ± 3.8 (part 1), and 5.4 ± 0.4 and 112.3 ± 3.6 (part 2); cooldown, 3.6 ± 0.3 and 95.5 ± 3.0. The exercise intensity ranged from ∼40–61% of the predicted maximum MET, and ∼66–78% of the predicted heart rate maximum. Shallow-water exercise elicits metabolic and cardiovascular responses in older women that meet the American College of Sports Medicine exercise prescription guidelines for realizing health benefits.


This article was originally published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research


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