Increased age is associated with a decline in cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular performance. However for elderly people to continue to function independently and perform daily activities, it is essential they maintain sufficient muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness. To do so, they should perform progressive resistance and aerobic training. However a significant proportion of elderly people are unable or unwilling to undertake two training regimens. Exercise on a Power Plate® machine could offer a viable alternative, as it may be an efficient combination of both these training methods.
In this study 220 participants (180 of whom completed the study) were randomly divided into three groups. The first group (PP group) performed basic Power Plate® exercises only (figure 1). The training intensity and time were This is a summary of a study published in the international scientific journal Age and Ageing (May 2009). By An Bogaerts, Christophe Delecluse, Albrecht Claessens, Thierry Troosters, Steven Boonen, and Sabine Verschueren, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium. Effects of whole-body vibration training on cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength in older individuals (A 1-year randomised controlled trial). gradually progressed, to a maximum duration of 40 minutes for one session (including warming-up, cooling down and rest between exercises).
The second group (FIT group) performed a fitness program consisting of cardiovascular, resistance, balance and flexibility exercises. The maximum duration of one session was 90 minutes.
Both these groups performed three sessions of exercise each week over the course of one year. The third group (CON group) was asked to not change their lifestyle or physical activity during the study.
To gauge the effectiveness of the different work-outs, measurements were taken at the start of the study and after one year, including Peak Oxygen Uptake (maximum amount of oxygen uptake), time-to-peak exercise (the time from the start of the cycle ergometer test to exhaustion), Isometric Muscle Strength (static muscle strength), and participants' heart rate.
As illustrated in (figure 2a, 2b, 2c) Power Plate® training resulted in an increase in peak oxygen uptake (2a), time-topeak exercise (2b) and isometric muscle strength (2b). The increases are almost equal to the changes noted in the FIT group, except for time-to-peak exercise, for which there are two possible reasons. First, one of the main components of the FIT group's training program was cardiorespiratory training, while the PP group's training regime did not include this element. Also, the FIT group performed better in the cycle ergometer test because their training program included specific bicycle training.
Maintaining sufficient muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness can help elderly people continue to function independently and perform daily activities. These results indicate training on a Power Plate® machine is a good intervention to improve cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2peak and time-to-peak exercise), which in turn can help to improve quality of life for the elderly.
Significantly, the participants in the Power Plate® group did not perceive the training sessions as a hard or strenuous work out, in contrast to the FIT group. As the duration of the Power Plate® training sessions (maximum of 40 minutes) was also much shorter than the Fitness sessions (maximum of 90 minutes), it is a more time-efficient way to achieve similar results.