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Osteoarthritis (OA) is prevalent among older adults. Aqua-based exercise is often recommended as a therapeutic intervention. Limited evidence exists on the effectiveness of this form of exercise intervention. Perceptions of pain, mean, and maximum heart rate (HR) responses, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), and subjective enjoyment to different forms of aqua-based exercise were investigated. Thirteen older adults with documented OA completed five aquatic exercise sessions: body-weight aqua-fitness (AF), body-weight aqua-jogging (AJ), resisted aqua-fitness (RAF), resisted aqua-jogging (RAJ), and hydrotherapy (HYD). HYD was rated most enjoyable with AF deemed as an acceptable alternative. Pain scores immediately postexercise were significantly lower than 24-hr postexercise for all exercises. Mean HR was higher during AJ than during AF and HYD, and higher during RAF than during HYD. Maximum HR was not significantly different during any sessions. SRPE was significantly higher for RAJ than for HYD, although similar for all other sessions. These data suggest similar pain and maximum HR responses to different modes of aqua-based exercise. AF may be an alternative to HYD as an enjoyable water-based exercise to remediate OA.

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Journal Article

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