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Whole Body Vibration: An Effective Exercise Method?

When it comes to weight loss, there is no silver bullet. After following multiple failed fad diets and buying one too-good-to-be-true exercise gadget after the next, many people are skeptical to hear that whole body vibration could be an effective weight loss method. Whole body vibration, also known as vibration training, involves standing, sitting, or lying on a platform that sends vibrations through the body. The low amplitude, low frequency mechanical simulation is said to improve flexibility, power, and muscle strength. The machine’s vibrations force your muscles to contract and relax multiple times each second.

The vibrations of a vibration trainer are measured in hertz (Hz) and refer to the number of vibrations per second. That means at 35 Hz, the muscles being targeted receive 35 cycles of vibrations per second. Amplitude is measured in millimeters and refers to how much vertical movement the platform is making, or in other words, the strength of the vibrations. Not all vibrations are created equal – the higher the amplitude and frequency of the vibration, the higher the workout’s intensity will be. The recommended amount of vibrations that has been used in most research studies is 25 to 40 Hz.

Whole body vibration is part of a trend known as “passive exercise”, because it allows you to get a workout without actually doing anything. Advocates of whole body vibration claim that it helps you burn fat, lose weight, boost flexibility, and build strength. Whole body vibration training involves standing on a vibrating platform with handles attached to it. Vibration trainers typically allow you to adjust the settings like any treadmill would. You can just stand on the platform or perform lunges, squats, push-ups, and other exercises as the platform delivers vibrations throughout your entire body. The body parts closest to the platform obtain the most benefits from the vibrations.

Origin of Whole Body Vibration Training

Whole body vibration training is nothing new. It was first developed in the 1960s by Soviet scientists to prepare astronauts for space travel. Vibration training allowed Soviet astronauts to spend an average of 400 days in space. In comparison, American astronauts could only spend 130 days in space. Soviet researchers found that vibration training helped prevent the loss of bone density and muscle tissue, both of which result from spendingtime in a zero gravity environment. Over time, whole body vibration training evolved to accommodate the needs of us earth dwellers.

Benefits of Whole Body Vibration

Whole body vibration training’s effectiveness is still under debate in the scientific world. It’s too early to say whether whole body vibration provides the same health benefits as activities like walking, running, or swimming, but research suggests that it can help with weight loss and improve muscle strength. Some studies have shown that whole body vibration offers benefits beyond those related to fitness, including reducing back pain, improving balance in older adults, and increasing bone density. Vibration training may also be effective in treating fibromyalgia, spinal cord injury, and arterial stiffness. Additionally, vibration training has been shown to increase blood flow to working muscles and surrounding tissues, helping to promote recovery and healing after training or injury. By increasing blood flow to these areas, you can flush out waste and provide nutrients and oxygen to promote repair.

An increasing number of studies about vibration training are focused on older adults, who often have a difficult time performing conventional strength training exercises. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that elderly people who were unable to perform traditional exercises experienced an increase in muscle strength and speed-of-movement benefits from using a vibration trainer.

Is Vibration Training Right for You?

Whole body vibration isn’t for everyone. Vibration training can be harmful in some situations, and it affects pacemakers and other electronic implants. Pregnant women and anyone with a history of seizures, tumors, or thrombosis should also avoid vibration training. Always check with your doctor before using a vibration trainer, especially if you suffer from any health problems.

So far, research seems to back up the claims that vibration training provides positive effects. But if you want to lose weight and get fit, it’s still important to eat right and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. While it’s OK to use whole body vibration training to supplement your normal exercise regimen, you probably shouldn’t rely solely on vibration training just yet, till more research comes out proving that vibration training provides the same range of health benefits as conventional aerobic and strength training activities.

Looking for a vibration trainer? At Health & Fitness Equipment Centers in Ohio, we offer a variety of 3G Cardio and PowerVibe vibration trainers, including the Zen Pro, which has a platform that moves straight up and down with minimal movement in other planes. This helps recruit all core and stabilizing muscles for maximum muscle toning, flexibility, and lymph drainage. Contact us or visit one of our stores for more information.

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