Elderly’s Physical-Functional Fitness and Perceived Functional Capacity and Health after Participation in a Hydrotherapy Program
Several studies have demonstrated how physical activity in older people benefits their physical fitness, health and well-being. The relation between physical activity and perceived functional capacity and health is yet to be considered. This study is a quantitative research design that investigated the improvement of the physical-functional fitness and the perception of the functional capacity and health of an elderly group participating in a waterbased exercise program (hydrotherapy). The data was collected in three different moments of the exercise program through a battery of tests of physical-functional fitness established by Batista and Sardinha (2005) and a questionnaire adapted from SABE project (Lebrão and Duarte, 2003). Twenty-six elderly persons (23 women and 3 men) aged between 60 and 84 years old participated in a 31-week hydrotherapy program (twice a week; 45 minutes by session). Friedman test was used for assessing statistical differences between the physicalfunctional fitness and the questionnaire responses in each of the three evaluation moments. Results revealed that this program was enough to improve the physical-functional fitness of the elderly, as well as the perception they had about their health and ability to perform activities of daily living.