Four More Information, WAHC Announces Speakers

Colorado Springs, Colorado — World Aquatic Health Conference (WAHC) organizers announce four exceptional keynote talks that will provide insights on the unknown benefits of aquatics to the populations we serve. Non-profit National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF ) hosts the eleventh annual WAHC, which is slated for October 8-10 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Portland, Oregon.

Patty Chang Anker, noted author of SOME NERVE: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave , an Oprah booklist selection, will inspire attendees with her Keynote address “Diving In: Discovering joy in life’s deep end, ” on Thursday morning, October 9. She will sign copies of her book after her presentation.

When Patty Chang Anker set out to face her fear of deep water she had no idea it would ignite a quest to help others face a multitude of fears including diving, swimming, public speaking, heights, driving, bicycling, clutter, pleasure, failure, becoming boring, aging and even death. Her book combines compelling true stories with expert advice and was hailed by as "downright inspiring," is a Parents magazine "Must Read", and was a finalist for a Books for a Better Life Award.

“We are thrilled Patty will open our conference. Her message is powerful and will help us understand how removing fears can be the first step to moving forward. It is a critical next step to helping to end drowning and encourage more people to swim for fun, fitness and for safety,” said Michelle Kavanaugh, Conference Manager. Attendees are also encouraged to attend an optional evening viewing of the compelling new documentary “ Taking the P lunge" on October 9 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The film, produced by Shawnelle King of Falcon Rattler Media, takes us on a courageous journey to eliminate the fear of being in or around the water. Two-thirds of Americans are afraid of deep, open bodies of water and 46% are afraid of the deep-end of a pool.

Friday Morning Keynotes: Keeping People Healthy through Aquatics

Three scientists will each deliver a ‘Ted-Style’ keynote talk on October 10, spotlighting to what extent water activity will help us maintain our mobility and minds. These notable NSPF funded researchers – Eadric Bressel, Ph.D., Paul Chantler, Ph.D., and Hirofumi Tanaka, Ph.D. – will present highlights of their afternoon presentations that shed light on how water is the perfect medicine for a prescription to better health.

Dr. Eadric Bressel is a professor and clinical research scientist in the Sports Medicine Program at Utah State University (USU) in Logan, UT.

Water immersion - your brain on aquatics

“What if I told you that people exposed to water immersion display better cognitive performance in water than on land…yup people may be smarter in water,” stated Dr. Bressel. The research community has a basic understanding of how the muscles, joints, and heart respond to exercise in an aquatic environment. Yet, how the brain responds to water immersion is not well understood. For example, is a person’s ability to learn new information affected by water immersion? Is their ability to make critical decisions affected by water immersion? Can a stroke or spinal injury patient improve cognitive function by immersing in water? Will immersion in water slow cognitive decline associated with aging, or Dementia or Alzheimer’s? Perhaps Albert Einstein would have discovered the answer to his elusive master equation of Unification had he just pondered the idea while immersed chest deep in water. Perhaps critical decisions by world leaders, that influence the lives of millions, should be made during meetings held in an aquatic conference room. The gems shared by Dr. Bressel will spark the creative minds of attendees to go forward with better ways to market and respond to consumer needs and grow the aquatic field.

Dr. Paul Chantler is Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine, Division of Exercise Physiology at West Virginia University. He received his PhD in Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology from Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool UK.

Aquatic exercise - reversing cardiovascular age

Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels play havoc on the health of the blood vessels and heart. These risk factors accelerate the age of those tissues and essentially make a young person “look” older beyond their years (i.e., cardiovascular aging), which increases their risk of mortality. Land based exercise is known to improve the function of the blood vessels and heart, reversing cardiovascular age. Dr. Chantler’s team believed that aquatic-based exercise could improve cardiovascular age, but did not know to what extent. “Our research examined the effects of aquatic based exercise on cardiovascular age in individuals with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Our talk will highlight findings that show aquatic exercise improves the health of the blood vessels and aerobic fitness similar to that noted with land based exercise,” said Dr. Chantler. Given that aquatic exercise is an ideal form of exercise for obese patients who want to improve their cardiovascular age and health, Dr. Chantler and his team encourage exercise guidelines to be updated to include aquatic exercise as a targeted intervention for individuals with cardiovascular risk factors.

Dr. Hirofumi Tanaka is Professor and the Director of the Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. He has published more than 200 research articles in journals such as Circulation and the Journal of Physiology. Dr. Tanaka’s primary passions revolve around preventive cardiology and preventive gerontology. He’s making waves with his ongoing research about the benefits of swimming.

Swimming - the magic pill for arthritis

Swimming appears to be an ideal form of exercise for middle-aged and older adults suffering from osteoarthritis (OA). People with OA are older and many are obese and have joint pain and get overheated when they start walking or jogging. Swimming can avoid these problems that land-based exercises provide. So how effective is swimming? “We did not know the answer until very recently,” explained Dr. Tanaka who conducted a swimming exercise intervention study targeted for arthritis patients. “This was the first study of this kind. We found that patients with arthritis avoided joint pain and overheating while they were swimming. Their mood state is improved substantially and their physical function was enhanced,” he added. Through this landmark research, Dr. Tanaka believes he has discovered that the concrete benefits of swimming are manifold.