Whole-body vibration could be just as effective as exercise, scientists say

Evrard Martin
Mars 17, 2017

Lead author Dr Meghan McGee-Lawrence, based at Augusta University, Georgia said:"Our study is the first to show that whole-body vibration may be just as effective as exercise at combating some of the negative consequences of obesity and diabetes".

Tests on mice showed vibration helped them maintain muscle and bone health, with obese and diabetic mice experiencing the same positive effects from both vibration and regular exercise. Whole-body vibration consists of a person sitting, standing or lying on a machine with a vibrating platform and could also benefit people who find it hard to exercise. When the machine vibrates, muscles contract and relax multiple times during each second, which causes them to work in a low-impact way.

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It might sound like an infomercial, but whole-body vibration (WBV) in lieu of traditional exercise may be a real thing in the future. The mice were followed for 13 weeks, and were weighed weekly.

20 minutes of whole body vibration has significant benefits.

The results show that the genetically-obese and diabetic mice benefited from WBV and treadmill-exercise in a similar manner.

While body vibration didn't address the defects in bone mass of obese mice completely, it increased global bone formation. But for people who find it hard to work out in a traditional way, "our study suggests it may be possible to obtain some of the same beneficial effects of exercise in a different, less strenuous way".

McGee-Lawrence added, "because our study was conducted in mice, this idea needs to be rigorously tested in humans to see if the results would be applicable to people".

Gone are the days where you need to spend long sessions struggling at the gym.

Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, says that benefits of whole-body vibration are "100% legit".

Anyone who's been unlucky enough to spend some time watching late night-television will have seen ads for gadgets like the Power Plate, a vibrating platform created to speed up fat burning during a workout.

The American Council on Exercise warns that whole-body vibration machines may affect pacemakers and other electronic implants, and that pregnant women and anyone with a history of seizures, tumors or thrombosis should not use them.

The research did not examine differences in heart and lung health.

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