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Physical fitness and elderly health effects of hydrogymnastics

BASIS AND OBJECTIVES: The practice of physical exercises, besides avoiding idleness, contributes expressively for the maintenance of the physical fitness of the elderly. The objective of this study was to verify the effect of hydrogymnastics on the physical fitness and the elderly health. METHODOLOGY: A controlled assay on 74 elderly women with no regular physical activity was performed. A group of 37 women had two weekly hydrogymnastics classes during 3 months and other 37 women served as control. The physical fitness was evaluated though the Rikli and Jones (1999) test battery, where the following parameters were evaluated: power and resistance of the lower members (to sit down and to stand up), power and resistance of the upper members (forearm flexion), lower members flexion (at sitting position, to touch lower members), physical mobility - velocity, agility and balance (to stand up, to walk 2.44 m and to sit back down), flexibility of the upper members (reading up the back with hands) and aerobic resistance (6-minute walk). The test battery was applied before the beginning of classes and at the end of the program 3 months later. The groups had similar behavior with regard to age, IMC, familiar income and educational level. RESULTS: During the three months, 30 women of each group were followed, sampling loss of 18.9%. In the hydrogymnastics group, a better performance in all post-tests was observed, when compared to results of the own group in the pre-test and to the control group in the post-test (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: One concludes that the practice of hydrogymnastics for elderly women with no regular physical exercises, contributes to the improvement of the physical fitness and elderly health.

Elderly; Idleness; Physical activity; Hydrogymnastics; Physical fitness

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