Disabil Rehabil. 2023 Jan 16:1-14. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2022.2164800. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: To investigate the effects of aquatic exercise programs (AEP) in body structure and function, activity, and participation outcomes in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) with mild to moderate disability levels.
METHODS: Six databases were searched from inception until November 2022. Randomized clinical trials that used AEP alone, AEP combined and/or compared two types of AEP were included. The quality of evidence was assessed by the GRADE approach and the standardized mean differences (SMD) were calculated the meta-analysis.
RESULTS: Twelve studies (n = 380) were included. AEP alone was superior to active control in improving body structure and function outcome: postural balance (low evidence, SMD = 0.47, p = 0.02). No statistically significant differences were found for the other body structure and function outcomes: lower limb muscle strength (p = 0.14) and depressive symptoms (p = 0.79), activity outcomes: mobility (p = 0.32) and participation outcomes: quality of life (p = 0.05). AEP combined showed no statistically significant difference for the outcomes of body structure and function: postural balance (p = 0.11) and activity: mobility (p = 0.21) when compared to active control.
CONCLUSION: AEP showed positive effects on body structure and function outcome (postural balance) in individuals with PD with mild to moderate disability levels while, no significant improvements were noticed for activity and participation outcomes.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONOur findings indicate that aquatic exercise programs (AEP) lead to significant improvements on body structure and function (i.e., postural balance) in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD).The AEP evaluated in this study implemented postural balance, gait, single and double training, as well as aerobic exercises, trunk mobility exercises, and Ai Chi.The average duration, frequency, and total time implemented were 50 minutes, three times a week, for seven weeks, respectively.Considering the potential benefits identified in this study, AEP can be recommended as an adjunct treatment strategy for individuals with PD.Additionally, the use of the International Classification of Functionality, Disability and Health on the development of rehabilitation treatment plans is advised.