Effect of Aquatic Exercise on Sleep Efficiency of Adults With Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

Chun Lung So (Corresponding Author), Sze C. Kwok, Hong Paul Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Aerobic exercise improves sleep for people who have difficulty in sleeping soundly, but most research to date has focused on land-based exercise. There has been only very limited research into the effect of aquatic exercise on people with chronic musculoskeletal (MSK) pain. The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of a 6-week aquatic exercise program on sleep efficiency among adults with chronic MSK pain. Methods: A total of 30 adults with chronic MSK pain were recruited by convenience sampling and assigned into intervention and control groups by a trained research assistant. Their sleep efficiency, sleep quality, activity level, stress level, and pain level were measured with ActiGraph GT3X accelerometer before and after the intervention group completed a 6-week, biweekly program of aquatic exercise. Results: Following intervention, the intervention group had significantly longer total true sleep time (by 27.6 min, P =.006); greater sleep efficiency (+3.01%, P =.005); and less pain (−1.33/10, P =.026). The control group had significantly shorter total true sleep time by 5.8 minutes (P =.036) while changes in the other outcomes were not significant. Conclusions: Six weeks of moderate-intensity aquatic exercise may improve sleep efficiency and reduce pain for persons suffering chronic MSK pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1037-1045
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number9
Early online date30 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Actigraphy
  • Aerobic training
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Insomnia
  • Pool training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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