Osteoarthritis is a common cause of disability and a primary reason for hip and knee joint replacement. Exercise is important for preventing and/or managing the functional limitations associated with joint disease.
A two-group randomized controlled trial with a convenience sample was used. Participants were recruited from community sources and randomly assigned to a 12-week aquatic program or a non-exercise control condition. Data for 38 participants were collected at baseline, week 6, and week 12 during 2003 and 2004. Instruments were a standard plastic goniometer, a handheld dynamometer, the 6-minute walk test, the multidimensional Health Assessment Questionnaire, and a visual analog scale for pain.
Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that aquatic exercise statistically significantly improved knee and hip flexibility, strength and aerobic fitness. The exercise adherence rate was 81·7%, and no exercise-related adverse effect was observed or reported.