If you like water-based activities, you may be surprised to learn that the activities are helping your health more than you think.
A small but encouraging study by Howard Carter of the University of Western Australia School of Sport Science in Australia has revealed that water immersion to the level of the heart will increase blood flow in our brain’s cerebral arteries, thus improving vascular health and our cognitive function.
I believe this is the first examination of the effect of the link between heart and brain health despite the effect of the exercises on heart health has been carried out by many health researchers.
During the experiment, nine (9) healthy males were asked to stand in a tank while remaining as still as possible. They were given a 10-minute rest period before three (3) submersible water pumps filled the tank at a constant rate with euthermic water (30°) to the level of the heart’s right atrium. The results showed a 14% blood flow increase to the middle cerebral artery and a 9% blood flow increase to the posterior cerebral artery when the subjects were immersed in water. What this result point to was the potential benefits of aquatic-based activities. However, as with land-based exercises, and since each water-based activity such as aerobics and swimming have different effects on heart function and cerebral blood flow, further investigation would need to be carried out.
As far as I know, researchers are now working hard to determine if water-based exercises can result in consistently greater increases in cerebral blood flow compared to land-based workouts and to further confirm that the water workouts can greatly improve our vascular health and cognitive function.
Till then we will need to wait for something good to come!
Tan Kok Hui
Nutrition Made Simple, Life Made Rich