|Many people are starting to assess their risk factors for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), but are unaware how to alter lifestyle to avoid onset of the disorder. Attention to cardiovascular risk factors does not usually happen at a young age, since age itself is a risk factor. Despite this, there are many younger adults and adolescents with strong risk factors who need to become aware of their present danger for CVD.
There are several ways in which a doctor, therapist or exercise professional can assist in reducing the controllable risks factors which are preventable or can be stabilized. This is even easier while still in childhood. An important prevention factor is finding a fun exercise format; enjoyment helps with long-term participation in physical activity. Aquatic exercise is an excellent option. With proper formatting, aquatic exercise can assist all ages, including children and young adults, in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and other related complications.
Physical activity has been shown to lower cardiovascular risks and risks for other diseases, such as obesity and high blood pressure. Decreases are apparent in BMI, body fat percentage, total cholesterol, and blood pressure, along with increases in fat-free mass and aerobic capacity. These results were seen just with 60-minute activity sessions three times a week. (Meredith-Jones, 2011) If we combine the benefits of regular physical activity with the benefits of aquatic programming, benefits can be further increased and reduce CVD risk early in life.
Those at risk for cardiovascular disease often have other risk factors, which may make land exercise more difficult. Aquatic exercise is an ideal option, especially for overweight and obese individuals, thanks to decreased joint loading and increased blood flow. If an individuals has high blood pressure, this can often be controlled with exercise. The cooling and comfort found in the aquatic setting allows – and encourages – training with more intensity. Aerobic training is important, since improving endurance will reduce many related risk factors by increasing vital capacity and improving overall stamina. Aquatic exercises can offset many exercise-related issues, resulting in the ability to increase activity and improve health.
Cardiovascular disease is no longer just a concern for adults. There are many conditions that children are acquiring that put them at risk. It has been proven that physical activity is beneficial to help lower risk, but some health conditions may limit how much activity can be performed on land. Aquatic exercise opens another door to exercise that is both fun and functional in offsetting health risks, thus reducing the change of developing of cardiovascular
Berenson,Gerald S.; Srinivasan, Sathanur R.; Bao, Weihang; Newman, William P.; Tracy, Richard E.; Wattigney, Wendy A. Association between Multiple Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Atherosclerosis in Children and Young Adults. N.Engl.J.Med., 1998, 338, 23, 1650-1656, Massachusetts Medical Society
Carnethon MR, SS Gidding, R Nehgme, S Sidney, DR Jacobs Jr., K Liu. Original Contribution Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Young Adulthood and the Development of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors. JAMA. 2003;290(23):3092-3100.doi:10.1001/jama.290.23.3092
Kavey REW, SR Daniels, RM Lauer, DL Atkins, LL Hayman, K Taubert. AHA Scientific Statement: American Heart Association Guidelines for Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Beginning in Childhood . Circulation. 2003;107:1562-1566, doi:10.1161/01.CIR.0000061521.15730.6E
Kim Meredith-Jones, Debra Waters, Michael Legge, Lynnette Jones, Upright water-based exercise to improve cardiovascular and metabolic health: A qualitative review, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 19, Issue 2, April 2011, Pages 93-103, ISSN 0965-2299, 10.1016/j.ctim.2011.02.002. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229911000240) Keywords: Aquatic exercise; Physical fitness; Cardiovascular disease; Metabolic disease
Alyssa Abruzzini is a junior in the exercise physiology undergraduate program at West Virginia University. Originally from Connecticut, Alyssa has worked in physical therapy facilities and has been a dancer for 15 years, which sparked her interest in the field. She hopes to work in physical therapy and integrate aquatics.