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Hypervibe for seniors – recommendations for safe workouts

28th May 2016
Hypervibe for seniors - recommendations for safe workouts

If you follow our blog regularly, you know that we generally encourage Hypervibe users to practice whole body vibration exercises in addition to, and not instead traditional exercise. However, there are some particular cases in which we recommend our customers to choose vibration training over weight lifting, and seniors are one of the customer categories we may recommend this to.

In older people, weight lifting can cause more harm than good, as the risk of injury is higher when the exercises aren’t done with proper form. Although lifting weights is an excellent way to strengthen your muscles and bones and stay fit, if you suffer from a condition like arthritis, fibromyalgia or sarcopenia and you feel you’re too weak to lift weights, then we encourage you to switch to vibration exercises.

Whole body vibration is not, by itself, superior to strength training; we strongly believe that each form of physical activity has its benefits, serves certain goals and is a smarter choice in certain circumstances, depending on the practitioner’s shape, age, general health state, time, resources and so on.

Most of the benefits that can be experienced by exercising on a vibration machine are provided by conventional strength workouts as well, but the advantage of WBV is that it takes less time, doesn’t require one to lift weights, is safe for most people and involves using only one machine instead of several fitness tools.

For seniors, all these aspects are important, so in today’s article we’ll discuss the benefits and risks of Hypervibe vibration training in older people.

Why seniors should exercise on the Hypervibe WBV machine

Standing on a vibrating machine that moves up and down at a high frequency over a small amplitude has been found to activate the muscle fibers, strengthen the muscles and increase bone mineral density in frailer individuals, so scientists wanted to see whether these beneficial effects of vibration machine training are experienced by healthy seniors as well, and whether WBV can improve physical function and reduce the risk of fractures in older people.

On the Hypervibe machine you have to stand with your knees slightly bent, or to sit or place your palms on the plate. Depending on your position, you can activate a different group of muscles and target a different body area. Studies have showed that vibration workouts can help in strengthening the lower body, improving postural control and reducing fall risk, from this point of view WBV being as effective as conventional resistance training.

Before moving over, we’d like to highlight the importance of maintaining a proper position while on the machine. Flexing knees in a common adaptation used for reducing the transmission of vibration to the head, and for maximizing comfort during training. The semi-squat position is also frequently used, and for seniors who have stronger muscles, dynamic exercises are beneficial. But the general recommendation for this group is to increase the intensity and length of workouts progressively.

A quick look at the available research shows that for now there is no standard vibration training protocol for seniors, and the various studies that have found vibrating exercises beneficial and safe have used different frequencies, amplitudes and G-force. There’s little evidence as to the optimal vibration intensity, but it’s known that too much exposure or using a frequency that exceeds 50Hz can result in detrimental effects.

Besides improvements in muscle strength and activation, vibration training leads to improvements in bone health and mineral density, several studies reporting that this form of workout is especially effective in postmenopausal women suffering from osteoporosis. Most studies report that vibration training influences the bone mineral density in the lumbar spine and hips, but the results vary depending on the frequency used and on the position on the machine.

Other positive effects of WBV in seniors include the reduction of lower back pain, improvement of muscle power and improvement of mobility, gait and balance parameters related to fall risk. Thanks to these benefits, vibration training is recommended to seniors who are unwilling or unable to practice conventional exercises, to those who suffer from painful conditions that make exercise difficult, and to those recovering from injuries.

Although in seniors weight loss isn’t usually the main training goal, scientists at the Artesis University College and University of Antwerp in Belgium found that vibration training may help obese patients lose weight and reduce their body fat percentage.

Tips for exercising safely on WBV machines

Here’s what you should pay attention to, if you’re a senior using the Hypervibe machines for health and fitness purposes:

  • The intensity of WBV sessions can easily be adjusted by changing the frequency or amplitude. If you don’t want to decrease the frequency, you can change the intensity and G-force by placing your feet closer or farther from the platform’s center.
  • To prevent excess vibration to the head, keep your knees slightly bent and work at a lower frequency when training the upper body.
  • To avoid injuries and maintain balance while exercising, opt for a machine with tower, so you can keep your hands on the machine’s handles throughout the workout.
  • Start at a lower intensities if you haven’t exercised in a while or are just getting familiar with whole body vibration. Increase the force progressively but avoid exercising for more than 15 minutes in a row. This prevents muscle soreness and dizziness and allows your body to recover until the next WBV session.
  • Avoid exercising right after a large meal, but if your blood sugar levels tend to oscillate during the day, it is recommended to have a small snack before training.
  • To avoid slipping and getting injured, place an exercise mat on the platform. Also, use the exercise mat when sitting on the platform and targeting the core or back muscles.
  • Choose an exercise program that is crafted for seniors and can help you improve your strength while focusing on balance, coordination and flexibility.
  • Don’t be afraid to use the exercise bands for training the upper body, but work at a lower frequency, to maintain balance throughout the WBV session.

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