Water-based exercise training beneficial in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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.
Review CD#: 
September, 2014
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy