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The Effect of Whole Body Vibration Training on Physical Functioning and Risk of Falling in Older People Living in Sheltered Housing

This randomized controlled trial (NCT0153600) evaluates the effects of whole body vibration training on the physical functioning and risk of falling in older people


In the early 2000’s, there was growing interest in the effects of whole body vibration (WBV) training on physical functioning, bone strength and health in general. In each second during WBV training, the body can experience tens of foot-mediated ground reaction forces with magnitude of 2 to 4 times of body weight, whereas normal walking creates only a few such forces per second. According to scientific evidence, WBV training is beneficial for balance and muscle performance and may have potential to prevent falls and fall-related injuries among older people.


This trial investigated the effects of WBV training on physical functioning, physical activity, fear of falling and falling among older people.


Out of 192 potentially eligible older adults, 130 persons aged from 65 to 92 years and living in or regularly using the services of sheltered housing were recruited in the trial conducted successively in four facilities in Tampere. The trial comprised a 10-week (double-blind) randomized controlled WBV-intervention (RCT) and a 10-month follow-up period. One group took part in supervised, individual WBV training twice a week, while the other group took part in supervised sham exercises once a week. The feasibility of the progressive WBV training program was evaluated in a pilot study. Main outcomes were physical performance, fear of falling and incidence of falls. Measurements were performed at baseline before the randomization, after the 10-week intervention and after the 10-month follow-up. Falls were collected with a prospective diary and physical activity was measured three times at baseline, at 10 weeks and at the end with a hip-worn accelerometer.


According to preliminary analyses, both 10-week training programs improved physical performance similarly, but the WBV group maintained the training-effects during the 10-month follow-up. Adherence to both training programs was excellent reaching almost 90%, while both trainings were perceived as effective, the sham training more pleasant. However, there seemed to be no training-effect on physical activity, fear of falling or the incidence of falls.


Harri Sievänen 
Research Director 


Sievänen H, Karinkanta S, Moisio-Vilenius P, Ripsaluoma J. Feasibility of whole-body vibration training in nursing home residents with low physical function: a pilot study. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2014;26:511-7.

Last updated: 21.9.2023

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