Whole Body Vibration Training Review

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Whole body vibration is an increasingly popular fitness training program, billed as a ‘fitness revolution’ and ‘the most important development in fitness for a generation.’ In whole body vibration training, a person sits or stands on a vibrating platform, which forces muscles to contract and expand. The forced movement stimulates the central nervous system, which in turn exercises more of the muscle than conscious, voluntary movement would. Proponents of whole body vibration training claim it increases flexibility, mobility, and circulation, improves balance, elevates mood, increases vitality, tones the body, heals injured muscles, and helps people lose weight.

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According to proponents, the research supporting whole body vibration training derives in part from experiments conducted by scientists and doctors in the old Soviet space program. Doctors and scientists noticed cosmonauts returning from outer space often experienced significant bone and muscle deterioration. They experimented with vibration-induced muscle activation and noticed improvement in the cosmonauts’ muscle and bone strength. Proponents of whole body vibration-as well as makers of whole body vibrating machines-claim to be using the same research as the Soviets, and point out that NASA has also experimented with whole body vibration training. Medical experts, however, are skeptical of the applicability of a program meant to shore up bone density, for people wanting to lose weight and tone muscle. For that reason, while whole body vibration training has become popular of late, doctors and medical scientists have not given it their whole-hearted stamp of approval. Studies done on whole body vibration training have found that the therapy does boost bone mineral density in postmenopausal women, and that it improves muscle strength, as well as balance, in the elderly. But none of those translate to weight loss. In fact, some studies have shown that whole body vibration training might actually exacerbate certain medical problems, like lower back pain.

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Advantages

  • In various medical studies, whole body vibration training has been shown to boost bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.
  • Whole body vibration training is also known to improve muscle strength and balance in the elderly.

Disadvantages

  • Whole body vibration training may exacerbate certain medical conditions, including low back pain.
  • Most medical experts agree that whole body vibration training is not as effective as physical exercise a person maintains with their own energy, like swimming, running, or walking.

Most medical experts agree that, while whole body vibration may have a place in a person’s fitness regimen, it is not likely to result in measurable weight loss. If someone wants to lose weight, the best thing to do is still to eat healthy and exerciser regularly. Even with whole body vibration therapy, one still needs to do aerobic exercises and strength training.

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