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Whole-body vibration exercise benefits postmenopausal women

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According to a new study, whole-body vibration exercise can improve leg arterial stiffness, blood pressure, and leg muscle strength in postmenopausal women with prehypertension or hypertension. The study was published in the February edition of the journal Menopause by researchers at Florida State University.

Whole-body vibration exercise involves standing, sitting, or lying on a machine with a vibrating platform. As the machine vibrates, it transmits energy the body, forcing the muscles to contract and relax dozens of times each second. Whole body vibration machines are available at a local gym, or units for home use can be purchased. The objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of whole-body vibration exercise training on arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity), blood pressure, and leg muscle function in postmenopausal women.

The study group comprised 25 postmenopausal women with prehypertension and hypertension (average age: 56 years; average systolic blood pressure: 139 mm Hg; average body mass index (BMI): 34.7 kg/m2). The subjects were randomized to receive either 12 weeks of whole-body vibration (13 women) or no exercise (control group). Systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, heart rate, carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, femoral-ankle pulse wave velocity (leg pulse wave velocity), leg lean mass, and leg muscle strength were measured before and after 12 weeks.

The investigators found a group-by-time interaction for arterial stiffness, blood pressure, and strength as brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, leg pulse wave velocity (−0.81 m/s), systolic blood pressure (−12 mm Hg), diastolic blood pressure (−6 mm Hg), and mean arterial pressure e-body (−9 mm Hg) decreased after whole-body vibration. Strength increased by 21.0% after whole body vibration. No change in these measurements occurred among the control group.. Heart rate decreased by 3 beats/min after whole-body vibration exercise training; however, leg lean mass and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity did not change significantly after whol-body vibration.

The authors concluded that their findings suggested that whole-body vibration exercise training improves systemic and leg arterial stiffness, blood pressure, and leg muscle strength in postmenopausal women with prehypertension or hypertension. In addition, they noted that whole-body vibration exercise training may decrease cardiovascular and disability risks in postmenopausal women by reducing leg pulse wave velocity and increasing leg muscle strength.

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