The present study, performed on a Power Plate shows that one year Power Plate training in elderly persons resulted resulted in reduced fall frequency and improvement of the response to surface rotations.
The aim of the study was to assess the effect of Power Plate training on postural control and the prevention of falls in the elderly.
The Power Plate generates vibrations that activate sensory receptors in the body, in turn provoking reflexive muscle contractions in leg and trunk muscles (tonic vibration reflex). As both sensory and motor pathways are strongly stimulated during Power Plate training, it is hypothesised that 12 months of training might result in improved postural control.
A total of 220 healthy older individuals between 60 and 80 years of age participated in this study. The Power Plate group performed static and dynamic exercises (see fig 1) on the Power Plate for a period of 47 weeks, three times a week. The duration of one Power Plate training sessions was maximum 40 minutes, including warming up and cooling down. The fitness group program consisted of cardiovascular, resistance, balance and flexibility exercises and lasted for approximately 1.5 hours.
The control group did not participate in any training during this period and were requested not to change their lifestyle. Postural control was evaluated before, after six, and after 12 months, using different test with moving platforms, disturbed vision and a moving visual surrounding.
Figure 1: Exercises from the Power Plate training program. Initially, balance was trained indirectly by exercising on one leg, after three months by exercising as often as possible without using the handrail, and after six months additionally the eyes were closed.