The number of elderly people in Western populations is increasing every year. Because of the fact that the population is aging, more people will be confronted with agerelated conditions. Maintaining the best possible health and fitness level is very important in order to prevent or cope with any of these conditions. And there are many ways in which people can contribute to sustain that level - for example, a healthy diet, or staying in shape by adopting an active lifestyle.
Aging is associated with a decline in muscle mass and muscle strength, also known as sarcopenia. This condition is directly linked to decreased mobility, loss of independence, increased fall risk and a diminished quality of life and may contribute to many other age-related disorders. At this time, an estimated 30% of the population over 60 suffers from sarcopenia, but this number is expected to grow exponentially.
In this study, 97 participants were divided into three groups: a Power Plate® group, a fitness group and a control group. Both the Power Plate® and fitness group trained three times a week for one year. The Power Plate® group exercised for a maximum of 40 minutes (see fig 1), whereas the fitness group trained for about 90 minutes, performing cardiovascular, resistance, balance and flexibility exercises. The control group was advised not to change their lifestyle or physical activity during the project.
Participants of both training groups showed an increase in isometric and explosive strength. Muscle mass increased as well. There was no significant difference in results between these groups, whereas the parameters for the control group showed that their situation had not changed at all.
The conclusion the researchers reached was that Power Plate® training is at least equivalent to regular fitness training. The participants achieved the same results with both kinds of training, however, training time of the Power Plate® group was less than half that of the conventional fitness group. Participants considered the training more pleasant and showed greater compliance.
This study shows that using Power Plate® equipment can be beneficial to fight age-related problems such as sarcopenia. It is thought that this loss of muscle mass, strength and function may contribute to several other disorders, such as osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and arthritis. Previous research has shown Acceleration Training™ to have a positive effect on osteoporosis, balance and postural control. It is an effective tool in helping to prevent some of the negative effects of aging, and may assist the growing number of elderly in maintaining their health and independence.