Do Two Whole-Body Vibration Amplitudes Improve Postural Balance, Gait Speed, Muscle Strength, and Functional Mobility In Sedentary Older Women? A Crossover Randomized Controlled Trial

Getting older comes with numerous challenges, such as postural imbalance, muscle strength loss, and increased fall risk. Physical exercise has been regarded as an effective solution to slow these effects, however it has been found that older adults have low adherence to standard exercise programming. Whole body vibration (WBV) training is a great alternative modality to improve muscle strength and function. Power Plate was included in a crossover randomized controlled trial to determine whether using WBV training at an amplitude of 2mm or 4mm was more effective for this population.

This study was carried out at the Laboratorio de Cinesioterapia e Recursos Terapeuticos Manuais at the Universidad Federal de Pernambuco from October 2019 to February 2020. 14 women, aged 60-80 and who could walk independently, were included in this study. Participants had a body mass index (BMI) ranging from 22-27 and were considered sedentary (less than 10 minutes physical activity weekly) or irregularly active (less than 150 minutes physical activity weekly). Two WBV protocols were developed for the study- one protocol was at 2mm of amplitude and the other was set at 4mm of amplitude - using the Power Plate my3. Participants in the study were blinded to which protocol they were randomly assigned.

The primary outcome measured was static postural balance, as well as muscle strength and functional mobility as secondary outcomes measured. Postural balance was measured using a baropodometric platform. The 30-second sit-to-stand test was used to assess muscle strength. The Timed Up and Go Test was used to measure functional mobility.

Using the Power Plate at a frequency of 35 Hz and either 2mm or 4mm amplitude, participants stood on the platform in a static position. They had their knees semi-flexed at 30 degrees and their feet 20cm apart, with their head and eyes forwards. Participants were on Power Plate for 60 seconds of vibration followed by 60 seconds of rest for 20 minutes total.

Results of the study showed that WBV performed at 4mm amplitude resulted in better strength and mobility outcomes than 2mm. A trend towards significance was also observed in the postural balance test when using 4mm amplitude. The 4mm protocol promoted increased strength and decreased time spent performing the mobility test. While there were no significant changes in postural balance using 4mm amplitude, Power Plate has been proven to improve strength and mobility for older adults.

Link to the full study Here