Passive Exercise – Working While Not Really Working Out: Whole Body Vibration (WBV)

3-20-2015 10-27-57 AMReally? Well that is what is in some of the advertisements. Before you invest in one of these expensive machines or pay big bucks to use one, let’s check out what experts have to say. My bet is – “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true.”

The most popular passive exercise today is whole body vibration or WBV or Power Plate exercise. This came from the extension of a program used to train Russian cosmonauts. The first time I heard of it was probably 5-10 years ago. At that time, I compared it to the exercise belt machine my mom had in her basement when I was a child. She used her vibrating belt machine religiously every day with no obvious weight loss changes.

3-20-2015 10-28-12 AMThe WBV is a little different. Most of these machines have a platform you stand on with your knees bent while the surface under your feet vibrates around 30 to 50 times per second. It is supposed to trick your body in to thinking that you are falling. This activates the muscles to prevent a fall.

According to WBV manufactures, the benefits of their machines include better circulation, increased muscle strength, more flexibility, increased range of motion, greater core stability, etc. They also say the benefits include increased bone mineral density, reduction of cortisol, elevated human growth hormone levels, and improved lymphatic flow. If that is not enough, WBV reduces cellulite and stimulates collagen production for better skin. OMG it is a miracle!

There have been studies that show positive results with bone density and some good effects with circulation and muscle stimulation for those who do not do conventional exercise. But the research to support weight loss and reducing cellulite is not out there.

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In 2004, a Belgian study of 90 postmenopausal women found almost a 1% increase in hip bone density with users of WBV. The participants used the WBV for 30 minutes three times a week for six months.

Another Belgian study in 2009, with obese women who followed a healthy diet and exercised using vibration plates, found the women lost more weight long-term than women who followed a healthy diet and did conventional exercise. Those women using WBV did basic exercise moves on the Power Plate.

After hearing about this study and reading more, you might think WBV is the thing for you. Since you will be doing basic exercises on a vibrating plate, it cannot be easy. My suggestion is if you want to use vibration plates, work with a trainer who has worked with these and can show you the proper techniques.

Even though there have been positive studies, not everyone is sold on VWB. Injuries ranging from back pain and cartilage damage to possible brain damage from the vibration have been reported. As always, to achieve and maintain weight loss, you need to eat healthy and exercise regardless of the exercise method you choose. If you are new to exercise or it has been a long time, I recommend you work with a personal trainer to get you started with a good, safe program that is tailored to your needs. If you are still interested in the vibration plates, talk with your trainer and physician so you can make an informed decision.

For more information, call Janet. I will help you find you a trainer that is familiar with WBV and wants to work with you. 256-614-3530.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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