Postmenopausal women with mild knee osteoarthritis who participated in a 4-month intensive resistance aquatic therapy program decreased their body fat mass and increased their walking speed, according to researchers.

These results are long-lasting, with participants maintaining the results 1 year after ceasing their aquatic therapy training. However, higher overall levels of leisure time physical activity are required for long-term management of fat and body mass, note researchers from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

The study, published recently in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, was conducted in cooperation with the Central Finland Central Hospital, the Department of Medical Technology, Institute of Biomedicine in University of Oulu, Finland and the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology in University of Helsinki, Finland, according to a media release from University of Jyväskylä.

The study included 87 postmenopausal women (ages 60 to 68) with knee pain and confirmed radiographic osteoarthritis-related changes in the knee joint, who were randomly assigned to either a training group or a control group.

The training group participants completed 1 hour of intensive aquatic lower limb resistance exercises three times a week for 4 months. The control group, on the other hand, maintained their usual care and continued their usual leisure time activities.

The participants’ daily physical leisure time activity was also recorded throughout the 16-month study period.

According to the release, the researchers recommend that people with mild knee OA should consider participating in high intensity aquatic resistance training in order to slow or even stop the progression of their knee OA.

In addition, the researchers note in the release that the decrease in body mass and increase in walking speed achieved safely with aquatic resistance training are both large enough to prevent the worsening of clinical symptoms and slow or even stop the loss of cartilage, which are typical finding in late-stage knee osteoarthritis.

[Source(s): University of Jyväskylä, Science Daily]