Technological advancements have made our lives easier and more comfortable. A quick glance around, while sitting in our home or office may reveal to us how much we depend on machines and their use has become indispensable to human existence.
Creation of the sedentary lifestyle is also an outcome of our dependency on technology.
This creates inevitable health problems!
Can the solution stem from cause itself? Yes, machines do help us restore health, and save our time too!
Not confusing you anymore, we will talk about machines that can provide you the benefits of rigorous physical activity or exercise without even trying to actually put in effort and sweat. This is the reality behind Passive exercise!
Hence, let’s define passive exercise: Movement of the body, usually of the limbs, without effort by the patient. In PASSIVE exercise movement results in a part of the body as a result of an externally applied force. The patient is passive.
By far the most popular new addition to the passive exercise category is WHOLE-BODY VIBRATION or WBV — also known as “Power Plate” exercise.
Whole body vibration machines, also called vibration plate machines, are exercise devices designed to make your muscles work against a vibrating force that affects your entire body while you sit or stand.
This may bring many questions to your mind.
Can it completely replace the need for strenuous exercises? How beneficial can it be for weight loss? Whether it has side effects? To what extent can you rely on it? and finally, how can you gain maximum benefits from this new type of exercise?
Let’s first have a look at the plethora of benefits that it promises to provide. The enlisted benefits are backed by research based facts. (though in some areas of WBV concrete research has still to be done):-
- Increased muscle strength
- More toned muscles
- Increased flexibility
- Reduce back pain
- Improved circulation
- Improved motor function
- Increase lymph drainage (reduce edema)
- Improve bone metabolism
- Preventing osteoporosis
- Lower risk of diabetes
- Reduction in neuropathic pain
You can read below, researches that support these claims:
- An immediate effect of WBV is an improvement of circulation. The rapid contraction and relaxation of the muscles at 20 to 50 times per second basically works as a pump on the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, increasing the speed of the blood flow through the body (KerschanSchindl et al. 2001 ; Lohman et al. 2007 )
- WBVT has been shown to improve body composition, muscular strength, and cardiovascular health. Especially, WBVT is useful exercise modality for disease and elderly population because the WBVT does not require utilizing conventional dynamic exercise such as free weight or dynamic movement. (NCBI)
- According to a study published in the journal of Endocrinology, 20 minutes a day on vibrating platform over the course of three months reduced fat in the abdomen and liver and increased levels of osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens bones.
Moving on to a benefit which we did not deliberately state, in the above mentioned list, that’s WEIGHT LOSS through WBV training! We will answer the most debated question for you.
You might have heard in order to lose fat you need to burn more calories. This is what WBV helps with. It does help to burn more calories without actually working out.
Let’s dig a little deep. When we exercise, our bodies will start burning calories, but those calories are from carbohydrates in our system.
In order to burn calories from your stored fat, your body requires the presence of oxygen.
During aerobic exercise, your body goes through several stages before it reaches the point where you are burning fat. You burn carbohydrates during the first ten minutes of exercise. To burn fat you need to work hard enough for your body to want more oxygen!
Let’s simplify it for you. The conclusion is that in order to indulge in rigorous work outs that help to burn fat, you need muscle strength and the ability, stamina that mostly people lack. Work outs tire people to the extent that they do not have the courage next morning to get up and get going again.
This is where WBV helps to make you strong, increases stamina to indulge in any form of physical activity.
It may also help to burn abdominal fat. There are studies (1), ( 2) to support this claim.
To reap complete benefits you should couple it with aerobic exercises.WBV alone is not known to cause enormous weight loss, proper diet and exercise being crucial to any weight loss regimen.
Since it is true that WBV helps to burn calories, we can say it aids in weight loss.
Yet another facet is, WBV and Aging!
While aging happens to all of us, its signs become more apparent when there is a lack of sufficient oxygenation, nourishment or circulation to any part of the body.
- Because of these inadequacies it is quite common and natural for many aging people to find that their stamina and strength diminishing over time. WBV may be an effective exercise intervention for reducing the results of the ageing process in musculoskeletal structures.
Source: College of Life Sciences and Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK and British Olympic Medical Institute, Northwick Park Hospital, London, UK (M Cardinale, J Wakeling)
- Since vibration training is safe, easy to be applicable, low time consuming and effective intervention; may be preferred by elderly as a part of an intended lifestyle modification
Study: Impact of Whole Body Vibration Versus Aerobic Exercise Training in Modulation of Inflammatory Markers in Elderly (E.M. Mohammed and A.S. Mawad)
Department of Physical Therapy for Cardiopulmonary Disorders and Geriatrics, Faculty of Physical Therapy, Cairo University, Egypt
What is whole body Vibration?
As apparent from its name, in WBV, the entire body is exposed to vibration, as opposed to local vibration (Biomechanical Stimulation, BMS), where an isolated muscle or muscle group is stimulated by the use of a vibration device.
Whole-body vibration platforms enable the user to train various skeletal muscles, and trigger other body reactions. The effects are used in sports, fitness, aesthetics, rehabilitation and medical therapies.
How does a Vibration machine work?
All vibration machines available in the market work with the same principle. They promise the same kinds of benefits, and how do they make such claims? What is it that makes such a passive exercise effective?
Unearthing realities that make this type of exercise unique! This type of a platform simulates an environment of increased gravity, forcing our bodies to get stronger and leaner. Active exercise uses our own body weight or additional weight through equipments to exert the body against gravitational pull.
A vibrating platform simulates an environment of increased gravity, forcing our bodies to get stronger and leaner.
For example, when we walk we exert a force to move ourselves forward, against the gravitational force of the earth. The same thing happens when we climb up stairs. Such movements make our muscles stronger and our heart also pumps blood with a greater force.
Active exercise uses our own body weight or additional weight through equipments to exert ourselves against the gravitational pull and helps to tone muscles and increase their strength too.
Here, mechanical stimulation generates acceleration forces acting on the body. Our body reacts to these forces. The immediate effect of WBV is therefore that the muscles can be used quickly and efficiently, rendering them capable of being strong.
Who should go in for this type of training?
Whole body vibration training is safe for most people, and can be practiced by recreational and professional athletes, younger or older adults. This training and therapy solution is suitable for men and women alike.
People, who suffer from severe joint pain, have a heart condition (coronary disease, hypertension) or a pacemaker fitted, they should consult their doctor before using this machine.
Having said all that, you must also know how you can gain from this type of exercise?
EXERCISE TIPS: While using a Whole Body Vibration Machine
Apart from using the vibration platform in a stagnant sitting or standing posture (this is more applicable for elderly people or those having weak limbs), exercises that are generally done on the floor can also be tried on it.
While it might seem appealing to incur a benefit from passively standing and not needing to exert yourself, experts emphasize that if you can physically exercise, that’s still your best bet. Why not couple the two?
If you want to see an evident and lasting change in your health, you need to have a regimen the focuses on exercising the entire body. Standing on the vibrating platform will provide you benefits but not to the extent that it is advertised, so alone it will not help you reach you fitness goals.
Here, are some tips for that:
You can perform upper body resistance routines on the vibration plate such as push-ups or bicep curls by using the attached tension cords that come with most machines. Whatever muscle toning exercise you choose to perform on a vibration plate, make sure to maintain the correct posture in order to maximize benefits and minimize risk of injury.
Some examples are:
- Squats: To achieve the best results with the vibration plate, start by standing in the center of the plate with both feet planted firmly. Perform the squat as you would while standing on the ground. During the first attempts of the squat, you may want to hold onto a nearby bar or other stable surface.
- Lunges: Beginners to the vibration plate should perform lunges facing the plate with their front foot on it, while more advanced exercises should stand facing away from the plate with their back foot on the plate. Those who are looking for an even more challenging workout should perform the lunge with both feet on the vibration plate.
- Push Ups
If you are more interested in toning and strengthening your upper body, trying performing pushups on the vibration plate. For best results, start with your knees or feet on the ground and hands on the vibration plate.
These exercises even if done a couple of times per week will have significant benefits.
And even if you are unable to perform these exercises simply stretching on the vibration machine has benefits.
With our every attempt to satisfy your inquisitiveness about WBV training, we now move on to the part where we will help you chose the best vibration machine available!
How to buy the best vibration machine?
Every product comes with its promises and unique features. While choosing one for yourself you should be clear about your needs and the goals that you need to reach.
The needs of a woman, and elderly person, an athlete and an obese man may not match. What would you do if you want to take home a product that fulfills a variety of needs. An all rounder product!
Let’s take a look at some points that should not be overlooked, while buying a WBV equipment
- How robust it is
- Upper limit of body weight that it can handle
- Size of the platform
- Pivotal/ lineal platform
- Strength of vibration and frequency range
- Accessories provided (resistance bands)
Looking at all these aspects in a go is difficult.
One way is to look for anecdotal evidence that comes from user reviews. Apart from the manufacturer’s claims and scientific facts, read about what the customers say about a product.
You can then, be in a position to make a wise decision that of course is economical too!
So which machine can be the best for you?
This machine (Confidence Fitness Slim Full Body Vibration Platform) provides all the benefits which are exclusive to a whole body vibration program and more! Here is the detailed review.
Let’s take a look at some inevitable features:
- The design of the machine is like all other regular models, with reinforced steel handles. The material and the design altogether make it robust
- The platform is 15”X21” which is wide enough to easily sit on it for additional exercises. It has wheels which help n easy relocation.
- Has pivotal vibration movement.
- Research in 2007 by the National Space Biomedical Institute found that in all the body postures they tested: “transmission of vibration to the head was 71 to 189% greater during vertical (Lineal) than rotational (Pivotal) vibration.” and that “rotational (Pivotal) vibration has the lowest risk of negative side effects.” (Abercromby, A., et al. Vibration Exposure and Biodynamic Responses During Whole Body Vibration Training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Oct;39(10):1794-800.)
- The upper limit of body weight that it can support is of about 300 pounds. It also has an impressive 600 watts power motor, which determines the strength of vibrations.
- Speed options of upto 50, provide a wide range depending on the need of the user.
- A computerized screen shows the time duration of your work outs, no of calories burnt etc.
- It comes with yoga straps that are built into the machine. This allows resistance training without needing anything else.
- Neither too high nor to low on price
The only drawbacks of this machine that have been reported by users are limited to tedious assembly process of the equipment and the screws getting loose with use.
The manufacturer has not provided the frequency range of the machine, but the users have not reported it to be incompetent.
Being the most user friendly, efficient and affordable product in the market it outwits all other products in its league.
Apart from that you can also find vibration machines that are very target specific. If you have a specific goal to achieve you can have a look at one of these.
The best vibration machine for weight loss!
We can suggest you with an even better option that is more robust and powerful with respect the force it can create.
Confidence Fitness whole body vibration machine is an all rounder in every aspect of being the best take home option, this one (Hypervibe G-10 Whole Body Vibration Machine) is rather expensive, but is trusted by many.
This machine (and similar kinds) are predominately used in gyms and fitness centers that focus on improving work outs and results.
It produces more power – up to almost 10 G’s of the normal gravitational force, claiming to be more powerful than other machines that are available in the market. The frequency with which it vibrates is around 20 hz which is clinically proven to be beneficial and has been cited in many scientific studies noted above.
Even though the machine does not come with resistance bands, there are many techniques to engage different muscle groups when using it. For instance, you can sit, lie partially, or squat. Depending on the technique you implement, it’s now possible to isolate and focus on muscles such as the glutes, calves, and hamstrings.
Depending upon your need, you can make the best choice. We can say that if you buy this one, you won’t regret about it.
The best whole body vibration machine for Peripheral Neuropathy and Planter Fascitis:
Vibration machines are not only for weight loss or toning muscles, a great number of patients find in them relief from neuropathy too.
These machines are used for patients, who have peripheral neuropathy and plantar fascitis. Specifically designed to provide movement to your lower limbs, relax them, increase circulation and more. Med massager is more portable and smaller than other machines of the same league. We are not saying much about what it can deliver. You can be at peace for its efficiency, since it is used mostly by therapists and doctors!
It will still send vibrations throughout the body, but will not work quite as well as the others for the WHOLE body.
If your target isn’t weight loss, this is one of the best foot massager which can provide relief from a variety of symptoms. It is a bit pricey, but the results will be worth the bargain.
WBV and more! (have a look at the amazing additional benefits)
- Research on effects of WBV on balance in elderly is somehow Several studies have documented significant improvements in balance by WBV.
- Impaired sitting balance is a common problem for stroke patients. It is anticipated that this training method will be used in physical therapy at stroke patient care centers as it is an effective form of training for balance functions. (NCBI)
· WBV training causes an additional effect on balance control and local static muscle endurance.
STUDY: Whole Body Vibration Training – Improving Balance Control and Muscle Endurance ( Ramona Ritzmann ,Andreas Kramer,Sascha Bernhardt, and Albert Gollhofer )
- Recent studies have suggested that vibration therapy may have a positive influence on motor symptoms in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Results of this investigation provide support for vibration therapy as a non-pharmacological treatment alternative. Long-term benefits of vibration therapy will require further research. (NCBI)
- Because vibration therapy helps improve blood flow it is felt that the increase in nutrients and blood flow likely help regenerative nerve fibers.
- Also improves peripheral neuropathy. Causes of peripheral neuropathy vary from injury, trauma or surgical procedures to diabetes mellitus. Diabetics who do not follow their diet or take their medication as indicated commonly suffer peripheral neuropathy. Atherosclerosis — hardening of the arteries — can restrict arteries in the lower extremities of diabetics, especially those who live sedentary lifestyles, smoke and have unchecked high blood pressure.
- This study confirmed the improvement in VPT(Vibration Perception Threshold) by applying WBV to elderly patients with diabetic neuropathy, and it is thought to be a cornerstone for patients with sensory impairment.
Wrapping it up!
Vibration therapy is a multifaceted approach for a healthy lifestyle. You may get multiple benefits under a single umbrella.
Whether you are obese, young or old. Busy sedentary white collar worker or athlete or a fitness maniac. WBV may cater to the needs of all. WBV training is a great time saver since it targets several muscles at the same time.
The immediate effect of WBV is that the muscles can be used quickly and efficiently, rendering them capable of producing more force. When using the whole body vibration with exercise (resistance training) you can reap dual benefits of increased muscle mass and post recovery work out. It may aid in weight loss too!
There are various medical conditions in which it may be beneficial too!
Research regarding WBV is still going on, and there’s ample scope to new findings.
So, we cannot say that it is THE ONLY remedy or a ‘Panacea’ such that you won’t need any other medical assistance. Drugs or dietary changes may be needed depending on the problem that you might be addressing.
We can conclude that WBV training is a beneficial and indispensable supplement to your health routine, such that it will aid in recovery, relieve stress and enhance your fitness level!
For an all round approach, and being the best on price we recommend Confidence Fitness Slim Full Body Vibration machine, to be the best choice!