Whole Body Vibration Machines May Help Weight Loss
You may have heard of a new way of toning your body called “whole body vibration.” By standing or sitting on a special machine that vibrates rapidly, your muscles supposedly get a good workout in as few as 10 to 15 minutes. Most machines resemble a standing scale and have a bar to hold onto. They vibrate very fast, and by moving your body around, you can target specific areas for vibration.
Some advocates say the workout can be as vigorous as fully running for 30 minutes or longer, with all the same physical gains. Not all research points to such robust health benefits, but a new study indicates that it may help with weight loss in very overweight people.
A newly published 10-week study of whole body vibration (WBV) in 50 obese women who underwent 14 minutes of WBV twice weekly shows that the women did drop weight and inches compared to a group that did not do WBV. The women who had WBV also had increased lower limb strength. The women did not do anything different in their lifestyle such as exercise or diet. The researchers report that it appears the WBV helped the obese women burn more fat tissue, which helped them lose weight and inches.
Body Composition Changes Occur
The authors note that “these preliminary results suggest that WBV training may improve body composition and muscular strength in obese women,” and that it may be a “useful” way to do so along with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise.
WBV may have benefits for the elderly as well.
A Spanish study of 49 elderly people found that WBV helped improve their physical fitness, balance, lower- and upper-body strength and flexibility, agility, walking speed and endurance. The participants were in their 70s. Twenty-four used a WBV platform device for 11 weeks, and were evaluated for physical fitness weekly. The researchers report that “most of the physical tests improved in participants using WBV compared to a similar group of people who did not use it”.
WBV affects muscle tone
Some researchers have sought to find out whether it could improve bone density. Some studies indicate WBV may improve bone density, but there are conflicting results. For example, a Japanese study of 50 older women with osteoporosis and lower back pain indicates WBV helped their back pain, but did not increase bone density. In a year-long study of 202 healthy women who had been through menopause, there was no difference in bone mass studies between women who received WBV and those who didn’t.
Experts recommend that if you want to try WBV, you will still have to do some kind of aerobic exercise and strength training as well. Also, check with your doctor before trying it, especially if you are pregnant or have health conditions.