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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aquatic treadmill running : exercise testing, prescription, and the physiological response Held, Nicholas


Background: Water immersion for exercise training, recovery, and rehabilitation has been a popular and effective modality for a variety of disciplines. Recent technological advancements have led to more sports teams, research facilities, and rehabilitation clinics using aquatic treadmills (ATM) as a modern form of aquatic exercise. Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to; 1) develop graded exercise testing criteria and evidence-based recommendations for ATM testing, 2) examine the cardiovascular response during maximal and submaximal ATM running, including ventilatory thresholds, 3) examine the hemodynamic response during submaximal ATM running, 4) determine the influence of small changes in water temperature on cardiovascular and hemodynamic responses during ATM running, and 5) explore the relationship between anthropometric measures and physiological alterations during ATM running. Methods: Participants completed a series of interventions on a land treadmill (LTM) and a HydroWorx 2000 ATM in a crossover design. Participants completed maximal graded exercise tests with a verification phase on each treadmill to compare maximal and submaximal cardiorespiratory responses, as well as determine ventilatory thresholds (VT1&VT2). Three submaximal running protocols incorporating multiple water temperatures and distances from a resistance jet were completed to determine the influence of these variables on the cardiorespiratory and hemodynamic responses. Lastly, the relationship between anthropometric measures and physiological responses during ATM running was examined. Results: Running between 0.61 metres and 0.76 metres from the resistance jet elicits the greatest cardiovascular response. The maximal and submaximal cardiorespiratory responses are similar between LTM and ATM with the exception of a lower maximal heart rate during ATM running. The use of a verification phase to confirm the attainment of V̇O2max is appropriate. VT1 and VT2 occur at similar points in each environment. ATM running alters submaximal hemodynamic responses, specifically a lower cardiac output and stroke volume. A change in water temperature of only 4C can alter the cardiovascular and hemodynamic responses during submaximal running. Anthropometric measures influence the ATM and LTM responses differently. Conclusions: These results provide compelling insight into the use of ATM to aid practitioners globally in achieving their desired results and provide a recommended standard of practice to follow in further research.

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