Vibration plate exercise doesn't help bone health, despite claims
Vibration plate exercises are popular. Studies also show they work to help tone and get rid of belly fat. But according to results of a new study, the vibrating exercise machines do nothing to help women prevent bone loss that leads to osteoporosis, despite claims.
In findings published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from University Health Network (UHN), postmenopausal women followed for one year. The researchers compared bone density in healthy women who used two different settings on whole body vibration machines to a control group of women given vitamin D, calcium and asked to eat a nutritious diet who did not use whole body vibration exercises.
Bone density measurements were taken at baseline and again at 12 months. The researchers measured bone structure and density in the hip and lumbar spine using energy X-ray dual-absorptiometry.
For the lower leg and forearm, high-resolution peripheral quantitative CT scans were utilized to measure bone density.
The women, whose average age was 60, were compared after six months. Vibration exercises were performed at either 90 or 30 Hz.
The study found vibration plate exercise, which puts pressure on the bones from the feet upwards, did not result in any significant changes in either bone density or bone structure in the women, compared to those who didn’t use the exercise machines.
Dr. Angela Cheung, Director of the Osteoporosis Program at UHN, Director of the Centre of Excellence in Skeletal Health Assessment (CESHA), Lillian Love Chair in Women’s Health, and Associate Professor, University of Toronto suggests "Women would be farther ahead in making sure that they are exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods” to prevent osteoporosis.
Weight bearing exercises like walking are recommended to prevent osteoporosis that strikes one in two women after age 50. The condition can make women vulnerable to fractures, especially of the wrist, spine and hip.
Vibration plate exercises don’t take much effort, but are advertised to provide the same benefits as moderate to intense exercise.
The study shows vibration plate exercise won’t stop osteoporosis. According to Cheung, "Although researchers are seeking alternatives to time-consuming exercise to improve bone density, the results of this study suggest this specific therapy is not effective in improving bone density.”