As a disclaimer, I need to tell you I’m a little biased. I have recommended vibration plate exercises in my office for about 7 years now.
For starters, there are some things that whole body vibration is not effective for. Ironically, when searching for a whole body vibration unit to purchase online, these “benefits” seem to be what is highlighted. Instead of starting a list, I think I can sum it up in one concept. The less you exercise, the more benefits you will get from vibration plate exercises. Pretty simple.
That means that hopping on the fitness vibration machine at your local gym in between workouts is probably a pretty big waste of your time. Which seems kind of funny since there was a large push to get whole body vibration units into gyms a few years back. There were also entire clinics devoted to vibration machine weight loss programs. Seemed like bad business decisions to me.
On the flip side, for those unable to exercise for whatever reason, vibration plate exercises can have dramatic results. Post stroke. Parkinson’s disease. Alzheimer’s dementia. Multiple sclerosis. Knee arthritis. Deconditioning due to age or a sedentary lifestyle. You get the idea.
There are a few exceptions to the above rule. The benefits of vibration can also include:
- Do vibration plates work for bone health? There is some pretty positive research on bone health and osteoporosis. This research is actually what prompted me to buy my unit in the first place.
- Vibration plate exercises will also increase blood flow to the brain, so those suffering with Parkinson’s disease, cognitive decline, migraines and dementia can see benefits.
- Post injury or post-surgical rehab when stability is a concern, such as ACL-repair or a severe ankle sprain.
- Increased blood flow into the legs during vibration exercises has been shown to help with diabetic neuropathy.
Getting back to the benefits of vibration plate exercises in those who are less able to exercise. In particular, the senior population. Granted, many are very active and would find little benefit to a fitness vibration machine. However, if a senior falls into the sedentary category, this particular study shines some light on the benefits.
Researchers looked at the use of whole body vibration plate exercises 3 times / week for 1 year in comparison to a resistance and aerobic fitness training regimen at the same frequency in seniors aged 60-80. Now, if any of you have been on a whole body vibration unit before you understand that it takes very little actual effort on your part. In this study, participants did do some leg exercises like squats while on the vibration plate.
Overall, the two therapies were equally as effective at maintaining muscle mass. Not too shabby considering that whole body vibration plate exercises can be done by those seniors who are no longer able to exercise as fully as some of their peers.