A comparison of the physiologic effects of acute whole-body vibration exercise in young and older people

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 May;89(5):815-21. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2007.09.055.


Objective: To examine the acute physiologic effects of acute whole-body vibration (WBV) exercise in young and older people.

Design: Every participant performed 9 conditions in a static squat position, consisting of no vibration and WBV at 30Hz and 3 loads corresponding to (1) no load (0% body mass), (2) load of 20% body mass, and (3) load of 40% body mass. A Jendrassik voluntary contraction was also performed with no vibration and WBV at 30Hz with no load and 20% body mass.

Setting: Laboratory facilities at a university in the United Kingdom.

Participants: Healthy young people (n=12; 6 men, 6 women; mean age, 21.5y) and 12 healthy older people (6 men, 6 women; mean age, 69.2y) from the local community.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: The Physical Activity Questionnaire, anthropometric measures, counter-movement jump, and isometric maximal voluntary contraction with the Jendrassik maneuver were assessed in both groups. Oxygen uptake (Vo2), blood pressure, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded during WBV and load conditions as the outcome of the study.

Results: Both vibration and load were associated with an increase (P<.001) in Vo2 for older and young groups. WBV elicited the equivalent of a .35 metabolic equivalent (MET) increase in Vo2, with additional loads of 20% and 40% body mass increasing Vo2 by 0.8 and 1.2 METs, respectively. Additionally, there was an interaction effect of vibration and group in which the WBV-related Vo2 increase was less in the old compared with the young. Both vibration and load caused an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and RPE (all P<.001); however, there were no significant group differences between young and older groups. The Jendrassik maneuver elicited an increase in Vo2 by 27.6% for the old and 33% for the young group (P<.001); however, there was no significant difference between groups.

Conclusions: Vo2 significantly increased in both the older and young people with vibration and additional load and when the Jendrassik maneuver was superimposed with vibration and load. However, the elicited increase in Vo2 (1.2mL x kg(-1).min(-1)) from WBV may be an insufficient stimulus to improve cardiovascular fitness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vibration*