444 Water-based exercise training beneficial in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

November 02, 2014

written by Brian R McAvoy

Clinical question

How effective is water-based exercise training (WBET) in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Bottom line
WBET resulted in significant improvement in functional exercise capacity, peak exercise capacity, endurance exercise capacity and health-related quality of life when compared with no exercise. When compared with land-based exercise training (LBET), WBET elicited significantly greater improvement in endurance exercise capacity. The WBET programmes varied from 4 to 12 weeks’ duration, with attendance 2 to 3 times a week for between 35 and 90 minutes. The average age of participants ranged from 57 to 73 years.

The quality of evidence was generally low to moderate, mainly as a result of poor study design and insufficient data. There was insufficient evidence for conclusions to be drawn regarding the long-term effects of WBET in COPD.

LBET (such as walking or cycling) improves exercise capacity and quality of life in people with COPD. WBET (not swimming) is an alternative that may appeal to the older population, those unable to complete LBET programmes, and people with other physical and medical conditions.

Cochrane Systematic Review
McNamara RJ et al. Water-based exercise training for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cochrane Reviews, 2013, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD008290.DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD008290.pub2. This review contains 5 studies involving 176 participants.

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.