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How WBV training can restore your bones’ health

02nd February 2015
wbv bones health


Aging produces a series of changes inside the human body, affecting all our tissues and systems in a more or less significant manner. Part of these changes start earlier and are more obvious, while others are more subtle but can have a greater impact on our overall health state if ignored.

In people who remain active and make healthy food choices throughout their lives, the physiological changes are less likely to interfere with the ability to participate in day-to-day activities, but in those who live a sedentary life and have poor diet habits, the risk of developing ailments and disabling conditions is greater.

Of all the health problems associated with aging, in this article we’ll only discuss the loss of bone mass, and we’ll see how whole body vibration training can help in preventing osteoporosis and in restoring bones’ health.

Both aging and the lack of physical activity favor the loss of bone mass, but osteoporosis and osteoarthritis can occur even in people who practice some forms of exercise. Knowing what types of workouts can counteract the bone loss caused by aging is just as important as learning what foods are the best for keeping your bones strong and healthy.

Exercise can slow the progression of age-related bone loss

The density of bones begins to decrease around the age of 30 in men and women, but the latter are more likely to develop osteoporosis and to suffer from low bone density after menopause. As the density of bones diminishes, they become more fragile and the risk of poor posture, falls and fractures increases.

Then, the changes that affect the connective tissues within joints make them stiffer, so flexibility starts to decrease as well and osteoarthritis may occur. This limits the range of motion of joints and can interfere with one’s ability to perform movements that require more precision and flexibility, so the quality of life can be affected.

The good news is that a strength training program followed regularly can help in delaying the onset of age-related bone loss and can restore the health of the skeletal system. The not-so-pleasant part is that lots of people aged 30 and over find it difficult to start an exercise program and stick with it in the long run, partially because of their busy lifestyle, partially because they lack the motivation or the knowledge required for choosing the most effective workout routine.

With or without daily exercise, the mineral content of bones continues to change throughout the years, but the effects of this natural process can be minimized through an active lifestyle and regular strength training. For those who, for various reasons, can’t practice conventional strength workouts, whole body vibration can be a safe and comfortable alternative.

In order for bones to get stronger, they need to be exposed to sufficient mechanical stress, and this can be achieved only by lifting weights, working with your body weight or exercising in a hypergravity environment like the one created with a whole body vibration machine.

Cardio exercises, although beneficial for overall health, aren’t the best ally when it comes to preserving bone mass or increasing bone density; the density of bone tissue increases when new cells form, and this happens when muscles pull on bones. Strength exercises like WBV or weight lifting cause the muscles to contract faster, and to work harder in order to withstand the increased resistance force. While contracting, muscles pull on joints and bones, causing these tissues to also work harder in order to preserve their integrity.

Additionally, the contractions stimulate the circulation of blood, leading to a better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all cells, including those forming the bones. All these lead to stronger and denser bones, thus a lower risk of developing osteoporosis or suffering fractures.

However if you’re not convinced yet, it’s worth taking a look at some studies on the effects of whole body vibration on bones. Chinese researchers for example have showed that post-menopausal women can increase their bone mass with up to 5.6% when performing exercises on a whole body vibration machine for less than 10 minutes a day, for 6 months.

Researchers from Egypt showed that obese post-menopausal women can safely increase their bone density with whole body vibration, this form of workout being also effective in decreasing the body mass index. Spanish researchers found that 8 months of vibration training can improve the bone mineral density and balance, reducing the risk of fractures.

But it’s not only post-menopausal women who can improve the health of their bones with whole body vibration. This study for example showed that osteopenic girls with scoliosis can also enhances their bone density with vibration exercises, and this systematic review showed that WBV training is a promising alternative to prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis in older adults.

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