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Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 2020; 101(7): 1111-1119, PMID: 32145279

Effects of Whole Body Vibration Training on the Physical Function of the Frail Elderly: an open, randomised control trial.

Year: 2020

Wadsworth D, Lark S
School of Sport & Exercise, Massey University, New Zealand; School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Electronic address:


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the feasibility and benefits of Whole Body Vibration (WBV) exercise as a safe and effective training-tool for countering sarcopenia and age-related declines in mobility and function in the frail elderly. DESIGN: An open, randomised control trial. SETTING: Residential care-facilities PARTICIPANTS: 117 male and female volunteers (82.5 +/- 7.9 years) INTERVENTIONS: After pre-screening for contra-indications, participants were randomly allocated to a Control (CON), Simulated-WBV (SIM) or WBV-exercise (WBV) group. All participants received regular care, whilst WBV- and SIM- participants also underwent thrice-weekly exercise sessions for 16 weeks. Delivered by overload principle, WBV-training began with 5 x 1-min bouts at 6 Hz/2 mm (1:1min exercise:rest), progressing to 10 x 1-min at up-to 26 Hz/4 mm, maintaining knee-flexion. Training for SIM participants mimicked WBV-exercise stance and duration only MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Timed-Up-and-Go, Parallel Walk and 10-m Timed-Walk test performance were assessed, in addition to the Barthel Index Questionnaire, at baseline, 8- and 16-weeks of exercise, and 3-, 6- and 12-months post-exercise. RESULTS: High levels of compliance were reported in SIM (89%) and WBV-training (93%), with ease-of-use and no adverse effects. In comparison to baseline-levels, WBV-training elicited clinically-important treatment-effects in all parameters compared to SIM and CON groups. Treatment-effects remained apparent up-to 12-months post-intervention for Parallel Walk and 6-months for 10-m Timed-Walk. Functional-test performance declined during- and post-intervention in non-WBV groups. CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate that 16-weeks of low-level WBV-exercise provides easily-accessible, adequate stimulus for the frail elderly to attain improved levels of physical functionality.

Keywords: Balance, Gait, Muscle Function
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GID: 5065; Last update: 10.03.2020