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. Higher levels of daily leisure time physical activity was only associated with reduced body weight therefore the high intensity aquatic exercise was essential for improvements in both functional capacity and body composition reported Dr. Ben Waller.
Aquatic exercise for prevention of knee OA
Treatment of knee osteoarthritis is shifting focus from end stage treatment to preventing the progression from early to the late stage of the disease, with the specific aim of decreasing the need for joint replacement and other costly treatments. Two main risk factors for the progression and worsening of pain and decreased in function capacity are increased body mass, in particular fat mass and slower walking speeds. Exercise on land is known to have a positive effect on body composition and walking speed but often people with knee OA avoid physical activity due to pain, even in the early stage of the disease. Therefore, aquatic resistance training appears be an alternative training modality for this population.
The clinical significance of this study is, that the decrease in body mass and increase in walking speed achieved safely with aquatic resistance training are both large enough to prevention worsening of clinical symptoms and slow or even stop the loss of cartilage which are typical finding in late-stage knee osteoarthritis.
The results of this study will be published in the Peer reviewed journal of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.