In a new study, researchers found water walking may help reduce artery stiffness and improve function in peripheral artery disease (PAD).
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Nebraska.
PAD is an atherosclerotic disease that is associated with attenuated vascular function, cardiorespiratory capacity, physical function, and muscular strength.
It is essential to fight these negative effects on health healthy lifestyle habits to slow disease progression, such as exercise.
In the current study, the team examined whether water walking exercise could help improve artery function in people with PAD.
They examined 72 people with PAD who participated in a 12-week aquatic walking training group or a control program.
In the water walking program, the patients performed walking and leg exercises in waist-to-chest deep water.
The team checked the effects of water walking on heart function, cardiorespiratory capacity (VO2max), exercise tolerance (6-minute walking distance, 6MWD), physical function, muscular strength, and body composition in these patients.
They found after 12 weeks, the water walking group showed decreased leg arterial stiffness and heart rate.
In addition, in this group, the cardiorespiratory capacity, physical function, muscular strength, and exercise tolerance increased.
The team also found most patients in the water walking program could continue to do the exercise after the study (84%).
The findings suggest that water walking exercise is an effective therapy to reduce arterial stiffness and resting heart rate, and improve cardiorespiratory capacity, exercise tolerance, physical function, and muscular strength in patients with PAD.
The lead author of the study is Song-Young Park from the School of Health and Kinesiology.
The study is published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
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