Obese individuals are coming into Chiropractic offices more and more these days. We have always been taught in school that obesity is a contributing factor to some of the physical complaints we may see in our office. We would recommend diet and exercise on top of the chiropractic care we offered. However, when I mentioned exercise to some of my obese patients, they would roll their eyes. Initially I had thought that they were unwilling to do exercise. We would sometimes come to our own conclusions based upon stereotypes. However, I have come to learn that the MAJORITY of obese patients DO want to get better. They have struggled with their weight loss and are frustrated by it. When I mention exercise, it’s not that they don’t want to do it. It’s more a question of not being able to do it! This and other issues have always arisen in my practice. However, vibration exercise therapy has been an important modality in helping obese individuals with their exercise program. This blog discusses the underlying principles on why it is so effective, in addition to some of the concerns that you need to address within your practice:
Vibration exercise is a great tool for early adoption of exercise:
Most of the patients that present to my office were prescribed exercise. This could be in the form of an easy walking program, to joining a gym. However, I soon discovered that most of the patients also had medically associated conditions that prevented them from engaging in any exercise program. Their knees hurt when they walked too much. Or they presented to my office with fibromyalgia, which limited them from engaging in an exercise program. You can consider vibration exercise as a very effective early adoption of exercise. The platforms have many therapeutic benefits, from increased circulation to increased flexibility and strength. The most important thing is that there is minimal stress to the joints and ligaments. A patient can start on a very low frequency setting and steadily progress without placing more demands on their joints. My experience is that most of these patients begin to see some changes in strength and flexibility within weeks. The knees hurt less, and they are able to do more. Any increase in activity goes a long way to ensuring they stay on the right path to success. What we have found is that by introducing vibration exercise first, they are able to slowly get into the walking program or the strength training program that they initially could not have done.
Increase in metabolism
We did a 3 month study on the effects of vibration exercise on metabolism and weight loss. An interesting finding was an increase of the resting metabolism in those that underwent vibration exercise. We found about a 12 percent increase. This is quite significant due to the fact that a person’s caloric rate of burn increases, thereby helping them burn more calories. When we think of vibration exercise helping people lose weight, we should look at it from the point of view that it’s an effective exercise that when done the right way, can lead to greater energy expenditure.
Vibration exercise is a strength training program
When we get right down to it, vibration exercise is just another form of strength training, but done faster and easier. Hence, it’s been labelled as a ‘lazy’ person’s form of exercise. However, this ‘lazy’ person effect turns out to be effective when applied to the patient population. The patient population sometimes can’t engage in long bouts of exercise, or simply cannot go through painful ranges of motion to get the strength training effect. Vibration exercise leads to up to 3000 muscle contractions per second, thereby producing a significant strength training effect within minutes. Research has shown that 20 minutes of vibration training can give similar results to strength training for an hour. This is a significant benefit for our patients.
Getting over the hype
At first, it does seem that a vibrating platform that you stand on and lose weight with is probably too good to be true. However, when you look at the underlying physiological principles behind it, in addition to understanding what your goals really are, it’s not hard to see how beneficial it can be for our patient population. We have noticed higher compliance with vibration training, which keeps a person motivated and dedicated to their weight loss goals. Motivation is key to any success. We also change up the program on a consistent basis, thereby ensuring that the person’s body doesn’t adapt to the training effects. We also see that patients that couldn’t engage in conventional exercise can easily start with vibration exercise, thereby increasing their motivation to slowly progress to other forms of activity.
Next time, we will discuss the research behind exercise in general for weight loss and see again, that it’s a combination of exercise, diet, and behaviour changes that ultimately leads to success!