The purpose of this study was to examine the cardiovascular responses to water
treadmill walking at 2.0 mph (3.2 km/hr), 2.5 mph (4.0 km/hr), and 3.0 mph (4.8
km/hr) in older adults. Responses to water treadmill walking in 92 °F (33 °C) water
were compared with responses to land treadmill walking at 70 °F (21 °C) ambient
temperature. After an accommodation period, participants performed 5-min
bouts of walking at each speed on 2 occasions.
Oxygen consumption (VO2), heart
rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE)
were significantly higher during therapeutic water treadmill walking than during
land treadmill walking. Furthermore, VO2, HR, and RPE measures significantly
increased with each speed increase during both land and water treadmill walking.
SBP significantly increased with each speed during water treadmill walking but
not land treadmill walking. Thus, it is imperative to monitor HR and blood pressure
for safety during this mode of activity for older adults.

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