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Abstract

Background: The effects of the non-weight bearing method of aquatic exercise as a modality for weight loss have not been established. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a combined aquatic exercise and walking program compared to walking alone on body weight and selected variables in obese females undergoing a 16-week Standard Behavioral Treatment (SBT) program. Methods: Forty-four obese (BMI 34.9 ± 3.8 kg·m2) sedentary women (age=40.3 years ± 6.8 yrs) were randomly assigned to either an aquatic exercise (AE) group or a traditional walking (W) exercise only group. Both groups were also required to complete 3 sessions of home based walking per week, and reduce energy intake to facilitate weight loss. Results: In the AE group, total body weight, cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility, strength, and health-related quality of life outcomes significantly improved over time similar to the W group. Significantly greater enjoyment scores also occurred in the AE group. Conclusion: Aquatic exercise in combination with walking can serve as an alternative to walking exercise alone for overweight women during periods of weight loss, and this can improve functional health status.

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