Aquatic exercise and mental health

Physical activity and sports are important elements in the equation that leads to mental health and related problems

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Aquatic exercise and mental health

The concept of mental health refers to a condition of health, well-being and/or balance of a psychological and emotional nature. A condition that allows the individual to exploit his cognitive or emotional capacities, exercise his function within society, respond to the daily demands of everyday life, establish satisfactory and mature relationships with others, participate constructively in the changes of environment, adapt to external conditions and internal conflicts.

The field of reference is psychiatry and psychology. The intervention sector of mental health shows a high degree of complexity, requires the management of multidimensional problems and the integration of socio-psychological and health approaches.

Mental health problems are today seen as health problems that can be treated or managed with appropriate integrated interventions, and in relation to which it is appropriate or necessary to intervene also on the social determinants connected to the disease itself: exclusion, marginalization, poor inclusion in the network social.

Physical activity and sports are important elements in the equation that leads to mental health and related problems.

Aquatic exercise and mental health

The Aquatic exercise and mental health: A scoping review study, published on the Complementary therapies in medicine, explained: "The aims of this review were to summarize the breadth and types of research regarding the impact of aquatic exercise on mental health completed to date, provide a clear indication of the intervention type, volume, measurement tools used, and populations best served in relation to this activity and its effectiveness and to identify domains within the literature that can be developed so recommendations can be made for future investigations.

A scoping review was performed under the PRISMA guidelines. A systematic search of Pubmed, SPORTDiscus, PsycInfo and Google Scholar databases was conducted. Studies observing the effect of aquatic exercises on mental health and related parameters were considered for inclusion.

The data from the selected studies were then extracted and analyzed methodically. Primary conditions measured: Depression, anxiety, mood, self-esteem, and psychological well-being were the primary mental states for which findings could be clearly extracted.

Of the 1635 articles that resulted from the search, 23 articles met all inclusion criteria. Of these, 12 were randomized controlled trials. Cumulatively, the findings of this review trend towards aquatic exercise being effective in generating positive changes in mental health.

Aquatic exercise, specifically winter swimming, leisure swimming, competitive swimming and aquatic aerobics, can be a promising conservative therapy for mental health management. However, it is recommended that further research be conducted to solidify these findings and establish the long-term effects of this intervention on mental health."