Effect of aqua exercise on recovery of lower limb muscles after downhill running
The aim of the present study was to examine how the recovery of physiological functioning of the leg muscles after high-intensity eccentric exercise such as downhill running could be promoted by aqua exercise for a period until the damaged muscle had recovered almost completely. Ten male long-distance runners were divided equally into an aqua exercise group and a control group. From the first day (Day 0) to the fourth day (Day 3), the participants completed a questionnaire on muscle soreness, and serum creatine kinase activity, muscle power, flexibility, whole-body reaction time and muscle stiffness were measured. After measurements on Day 0, the participants performed downhill running (three 5 min runs with a 5 min rest interval at -10%, 335.7 +/- 6.1 m . min-1). The aqua exercise group performed walking, jogging and jumping in water on three successive days following the downhill running on Day 0 for 30 min each day. Muscle power was reduced on Day 1 in the control group (P < 0.05). Muscle soreness in the calf on Day 3 was greater in the control group than that in the aqua exercise group (P < 0.05). In the aqua exercise group, muscle stiffness in the calf was less than that in the control group over 4 days (time main effect: P < 0.05; group x time interaction: P < 0.05). We conclude that aqua exercise promoted physiological functioning of the muscles in the legs after high-intensity downhill running for a period until the damaged muscles had recovered almost completely.
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