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Effects of vertical and side-alternating vibration training on fall risk factors and bone turnover in older people at risk of falls

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posted on 11.02.2015, 11:14 by Heather Corrie, Katherine Brooke-WavellKatherine Brooke-Wavell, Neil Mansfield, Alison Cowley, Robert Morris, Tahir Masud
Background: Whole body vibration training may improve neuromuscular function, falls risk and bone density, but previous studies have had conflicting findings. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the influence of vertical and side-alternating vibration on musculoskeletal health in older people at risk of falls. Design: Single blind randomised controlled trial comparing vibration training to sham vibration in addition to usual care. Participants: Participants were 61 older people (37 women and 24 men), aged 80.2 + 6.5y, referred to an outpatient falls prevention service. Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to vertical vibration (VV), side-alternating vibration (SV) or sham vibration (Sham) in addition to the usual falls prevention programme. Participants were requested to attend three vibration sessions per week for 12 weeks, with sessions increasing to six, 1 minute bouts of vibration. Falls risk factors and neuromuscular tests were assessed, and blood samples collected for determination of bone turnover, at baseline and following the intervention. Results: Chair stand time, timed-up-and-go time, fear of falling, NEADL index and postural sway with eyes open improved in the Sham group. There were significantly greater gains in leg power in the VV than Sham group and in bone formation in SV and VV compared to the Sham vibration group. Conversely, body sway improved less in the VV than Sham group. Changes in falls risk factors did not differ between groups. Conclusions: Whole body vibration increased leg power and bone formation, but did not provide any additional benefits to balance or fall risk factors beyond a falls prevention programme in older people at risk of falls.


This project was supported by the National Osteoporosis Society, UK and British Geriatrics Society.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Age and Ageing






115 - 122


CORRIE, H. ... et al, 2015. Effects of vertical and side-alternating vibration training on fall risk factors and bone turnover in older people at risk of falls. Age and Ageing, 44 (1), pp.115-122.


Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society (© The Author 2014)


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Age and Ageing following peer review. The version of record is available online at: