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Does Whole-Body Vibration Training Have Acute Residual Effects on Postural Control Ability of Elderly Women?

Carlucci, Flaminia; Mazzà, Claudia; Cappozzo, Aurelio

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: December 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 12 - p 3363-3368
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e7fabb
Original Research

Carlucci, F, Mazzà, C, and Cappozzo, A. Does whole-body vibration training have acute residual effects on postural control ability of elderly women? J Strength Cond Res 24(12): 3363-3368, 2010-The purpose of this study was to investigate acute residual effects of a single vibration session on balance control in a group of elderly women. Several studies, in fact, have shown that whole-body vibration (WBV) training may improve balance in the elderly, but possible side effects of acute exposure to WBV, such as temporary reduction of balance control ability because of perturbations of the vestibular system, have not been investigated. Twenty-two healthy elderly women (71.8 ± 4.7 years of age) were trained with a 9.5-minute bout of static and dynamic knee-extensor exercises executed on a vibrating platform (Well-net Vibe Revolution). The vibration frequency was set at 35 Hz. A subgroup of 14 subjects performed the same exercise protocol also without the vibrations to discriminate between vibration and exercise effects. Balance control ability was assessed through computerized posturography: a force plate (Bertec Co, Columbus, OH, USA) was used to measure the center of pressure trajectories during 4 different experimental trials: before, immediately after, 15 minutes after, and 60 minutes after the training. A set of postural parameters, typically adopted to assess elderly subjects, was then computed and 2-way analysis of variance was used to determine differences between values found in the 4 postural tests (level of significance p = 0.05) in the 2 groups. The results showed no significant variations in the postural parameters recorded during the 4 sessions. A significant group effect was found for 2 postural parameters, with no interaction between the 2 factors. In conclusion, the proposed single bout of WBV does not induce dangerous acute effects on elderly women balance control ability and could be safely administered as part of a long-term intervention program.

Laboratory of Locomotor Apparatus Bioengineering, Department of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Rome “Foro Italico,” Rome, Italy

Address correspondence to Claudia Mazzà,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association