Many rehabilitation clinics offering aquatic therapy have implemented programs
consisting of exercise in shallow water conditions; The majority of studies regarding physiological responses to exercise on land versus in water have focused on deep water running (DWR) conditions and did not include shallow water running (SWR) in the comparison. Heart rates for shallow-water exercise,however, are often prescribed based on the results of DWR studies. Thus, the purpose of this study was to compare heart rates during water running at two different levels of immersion at a constant rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Forty-two subjects were tested in both deep and shallow water
running conditions. A paired t-test was performed to assess heart rate (HR) at the two levels of water immersion. The results revealed a significant difference (p=0.0007) of 10 beats/min-1 between the mean HR during SWR (155.8 beats·min -1) and DWR (145.8 beats·min--1). These findings suggest that shallow water exercise heart rates should not be prescribed using the deep water HR values often recommended by aquatic professionals.
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