Vibration Exercise: Innovative Workout
For years, companies have been hawking vibration as a form of exercise—from those fat-jiggling waist belts in the ’80s to the vibrating platforms found in many gyms today. Now, a new study in mice suggests there might be some truth to the idea that a vibrating machine may be able to deliver some of the same benefits as actual physical activity.
The new research, published in the journal Endocrinology, found that mice with diabetes and obesity had similar improvements in muscle mass and insulin sensitivity over 12 weeks when they were assigned to either 45 minutes of daily treadmill walking or 20 minutes of daily whole-body vibration. Both groups gained less weight and improved more in overall health than sedentary mice that received neither intervention.
Whole-body vibration consists of a person (or, in the study’s case, a mouse) sitting, standing or lying on a platform. The platform’s vibrations send tiny shockwaves through the body, causing muscles to contract and relax multiple times per second.
The obese mice in the study also had low bone density, a common side effect of excess weight in both animals and humans. While treadmill exercise did improve this measure over 12 weeks, the vibration technique did not. Both interventions did, however, increase levels of a protein involved in bone formation, suggesting that longer-term treatments could potentially help prevent future bone loss.
Vibration is not a cure-all for the problems associated with sedentary life, say the study authors, and results seen in mice don’t necessarily translate to humans. Before vibration-based treatments can be widely recommended, these results would need to be replicated in clinical trials. (A 2009 study found that vibration platforms helped obese people lose body fat, but other metabolic benefits have been less studied in people.)
Vibration machines have been used for many years as a form of exercise to help with weight loss. Although not enough research studies demonstrated their effects, new evidence has found that whole body vibrations can actually help reduce excess weight. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.
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