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Water-based exercise for heart disease
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Water-based exercise for heart disease

Professor Andrew Maiorana, Institution: Curtin University

2016 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2017-2020


Regular exercise is important for people with heart disease to optimise physical function and quality of life and prevent further health complications. Unfortunately, many people with heart disease are not sufficiently active to achieve health benefits. A common reason is other health conditions, such as arthritis or obesity, which make conventional land-based exercise difficult. Water-based exercise may be an effective alternative because it minimizes joint stress and preliminary studies indicate it may be more beneficial to vascular health compared to land-based exercise due to the unique physiological stimulus on the cardiovascular system of exercising in water. However, this has not previously been assessed in people with heart disease.

This study will investigate the effects of exercising in the water for people with heart disease. Participants will be randomised to 12 weeks of matched moderate intensity water-based or gym-based exercise, or a control group where they maintain their usual activities.  The effects on blood vessel health and function, brain blood flow, fitness, strength, body composition and blood test parameters will be compared before and after the intervention period. It is anticipated this study will provide health care professionals with important information about the effects of water-based exercise in people with heart disease, providing an evidence-based option to increase their engagement with regular exercise.

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