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Could Whole-Body Vibration Replace Regular Exercise? Study Says Yes

17 March 2017, 5:04 am EDT By Livia Rusu Tech Times
New research has suggested that whole-body vibration has similar health benefits to exercising. The study was carried out on mice, and could significantly impact obesity rates in humans.  ( Sean Gallup | Getty Images )

Whole-body vibration or WBV is a mild form of exercise mimicking the muscle and bone benefits of regular exercise in mice. The study advancing this hypothesis suggests that during WBV the muscles relax and contract multiple times each second.

WBV consists of a subject sitting or standing on a machine with a vibration platform. As the machine vibrates, the energy transmitted to the body mimics the type of movement employed in regular exercise.

Whole-Body Vibration, Potentially As Healthy As Exercising

Many people find it difficult to exercise on a regular basis, which is one of the main factors contributing to the diabetes and obesity epidemics in the United States. The disorders that are usually associated with lack of physical activity can also be responsible for a higher risk of bone fractures. Consequently, physical activity can decrease these risks. Additionally, it also has other benefits, among which is a better metabolic rate.

This research is the first to have shown that whole-body vibration could be as effective as exercise when it comes to combating some negative effects of diabetes and obesity, according to Meghan E. McGee of Augusta University, lead author of the study.

As part of the research, the scientists analyzed two different groups of 5-week-old mice. The first group was populated by normal mice, and the second one consisted of mice that were genetically unresponsive to a hormone called leptin. Leptin is responsible for the feeling of satiety after eating.

Each group was divided into sedentary, treadmill, or WBV exercise conditions. After the first week of the experiment, when the animals had adapted to the program, the animals started a 12-week exercise program.

The WBV group was under a schedule of 20 minutes of vibration, at a 32 Hz frequency, with a daily acceleration of 0.5 g. The treadmill group had to walk for 45 minutes every day at a slight inclination. At the same time, the sedentary group wasn't assigned any kind of exercise.

Every week during the research, the mice from all three groups were weighed. The mice who suffered from genetic obesity had similar positive metabolic outcomes both in the WBV and the treadmill group. Additionally, the mice from the exercise groups gained less weight compared to the ones in the sedentary group, although they remained overweight.

The findings of this research suggest that WBV could be an efficient complementary therapy when it comes to combating a series of metabolic dysfunctions, especially among people who suffer from morbid obesity.

Obesity Epidemic Puts American People In Danger

Presently, more than a third of the American population is obese, accounting for 36.5 percent of adults, according to data provided by the CDC.

The prevalence of obesity among women, according to data gathered between 2011 and 2014, was higher among women than men, accounting for 38.3 percent obese women and 34.3 percent obese men. Among adults between the ages 20 to 39 and 40 to 59 there are significantly more obese women. However, in people over the age of 60, these differences are statistically insignificant.

"All adults should avoid inactivity, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults aged 18-64 years need at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week," according to The CDC Guide to Strategies to Increase Physical Activity in the Community.

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