The Role of Pilates and Aquafitness Exercises in Sustaining the Health and Fitness of Elderly Women
Background: The aim of this study was an evaluation of the effectiveness of two forms of physical activity: Pilates and aquafitness - gymnastics in water, in sustaining the health and fitness of women after the age of 55. Material and methods: In research groups were twenty five volunteer women - participants of physical training of the age from 55 to 76 years. One of the groups (Group 1) conducted exercise according to the Pilates method, and the second group (Group 2) practiced in water - aquafitness. The exercises took place once a week, 1.5 hours each. The research ("up and go" test, test for strength and endurance of lower limbs, test for strength of upper limbs, test for suppleness of the lower body part) has been conducted twice - in the first four weeks of training and after ten weeks. Results: The strength of upper limbs considerably increased (p=0.038) in the case of women practicing in water. The program of aquafitness contains a lot of resistance exercises for the upper limbs, which had impact on the above mentioned result. Improvement in the results of tests of suppleness of lower body part was observed (after an 10-week cycle of exercises) in Pilates groups. Conclusions: Pilates and aquafitness were beneficial for the level of suppleness of seniors. The frequency of exercises - once a week - is insufficient for sustaining full fitness, however, even such minimal doze of physical activity positively affects the physical and mental condition of the seniors.
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