Water exercise boosts endurance in COPD

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Exercising in a pool can boost endurance and energy levels for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

A new study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, investigated 53 people with COPD. People were divided into three different groups; one doing exercise in a pool, one doing exercise in a gym and one receiving standard medical care without exercise.

Participants in the water-based exercise training group reported an improvement in many functional aspects of their daily life, such as improved stamina and ability to complete tasks, such as walking long distances when shopping.

Whether they worked out on land or in water, patients were able to walk faster after the training than when they just got usual care. But those who exercised in the pool reported less fatigue than the gym trainers and also developed more physical endurance.

In a test for which they had to walk as far as they could at a constant speed, patients who had exercised in water outpaced those who had trained in a gym, by 228 metres (748 feet). Researchers consider a difference of 203 metres to be important.

Water therapy exercises are already used to treat other problems, such as arthritis and joint pain. The lead author said people interested in joining a pool-based exercise programme should contact their local hospital or health provider.

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