Whole-body vibration might be as beneficial as regular exercise, suggests a new study published in the journal Endocrinology.
Regular exercise is replaceable. At least when it comes to the benefits it generates on bone and muscle. And, in mice. The alternative is a less rigorous form of exercise called whole-body vibration (WBV), which requires the person to either sit or stand or lie on a device that vibrates; with its vibration, energy is transmitted to the body, leading to muscle contraction and relaxation that occurs several times per second.
Physical activity of this nature may protect from the adverse effects of obesity and diabetes in a similar manner to exercising. The two metabolic disorders are known to increase the risk of bone fractures, a state that can decrease with physical exercise—WBR might be doing the same job, suggests first author, Meghan E. McGee-Lawrence from Augusta University.
McGee and her colleagues studied two groups of mice: normal mice, and mice which could not feel satiety. The second group was genetically-modified to be unresponsive to a molecule called leptin, a hormone which triggers the feeling of fullness following meals; and thus, they grew obese. Both categories were divided into further groups depending on the conditions to which they were subjected: sedentary, treadmill exercise, and WBV. The mice were followed for 13 weeks, and were weighed weekly.
The results show that the genetically-obese and diabetic mice benefited from WBV and treadmill-exercise in a similar manner. The two groups gained less weight than the sedentary one. Also, both exercising and WBV resulted in enhanced muscle and insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, global bone formation increased with WBV, and Mc-Gee says that this method might be used to prevent bone loss. On the other hand, no significant effect was recorded in the young healthy mice.
The researchers conclude that WBV may serve as an additional therapy to protect from metabolic dysfunction in obese people. Mc-Gee does add that their findings need to be tested in humans to verify whether the effects will extend on them as well.