Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate efficacy of a whole-body vibration (WBV) intervention on functional performance of community-dwelling older adults.
Design: The study was designed as a randomized controlled trial.
Setting: The setting was in community centers.
Subjects: There were 37 total subjects (21 women and 16 men) (age 69 +/- 8 years; mean +/- standard deviation).
Intervention: Participants were randomized to a WBV intervention (INT) group and control (CON) group. Whole-body vibration was administered for five 1-minute bouts per session, 3 days per week, for 6 weeks. The CON group was asked not to commence any form of physical training.
Outcome measures: Functional performance was measured with the timed-up-and-go-test (TUG) and sit-to-stand-test (STS).
Results: After WBV, TUG and STS time was less for INT than CON (INT, TUG 7.6 +/- 0.3 seconds, STS 11.9 +/- 2.0 seconds; CON, TUG 8.6 +/- 0.9, STS 13.5 +/- 1.1 seconds; p < 0.05). Within INT, TUG improved 0.9 +/- 0.4 seconds; p = 0.01 and STS improved 3.0 +/- 0.9 seconds; p = 0.05).
Conclusions: The efficacy of this WBV intervention was established. Functional performance improvement after WBV may be attributed to a number of biological mechanisms that remain speculative. Further research is required to mechanistically understand the effects of WBV on older adults.