We determined whether the effect of exercise on bone mineral density (BMD) and falls can be enhanced by whole body vibration (WBV). In summary, the multi-purpose exercise training was effective to increase lumbar BMD but added WBV did not enhance this effect. However, falls were lowest in the exercise program combined with WBV.
WBV is a new approach to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures. In the "Erlangen Longitudinal Vibration Study" (ELVIS), we investigated whether WBV enhances the effect of multifunctional exercise on BMD and falls.
One hundred fifty-one postmenopausal women (68.5 ± 3.1 years) were randomly assigned to a: (1) conventional training group (TG); (2) conventional training group including vibration (TGV); and (3) wellness control group (CG). TG conducted an exercise program consisting of 20 min dancing aerobics, 5 min balance training, 20 min functional gymnastics, and 15 min dynamic leg-strength training on vibration plates (without vibration) twice a week. TGV performed an identical exercise regimen with vibration (25-35 Hz) during the leg-strengthening sequence. CG performed a low-intensity wellness program. BMD was measured at the hip and lumbar spine at baseline and follow-up using the DXA method. Falls were recorded daily via the calendar method.
After 18 months, an increase in BMD at the lumbar spine was observed in both training groups (TGV: +1.5% vs. TG: +2.1%). The difference between the TG and the CG (1.7%) was significant. At the hip no changes were determined in either group. The fall frequency was significantly lower in TGV (0.7 falls/person) compared with CG (1.5), whereas the difference between TG (0.96) and CG was not significant.
A multifunctional training program had a positive impact on lumbar BMD. The application of vibration did not enhance these effects. However, only the training including WBV affected the number of falls significantly.