Whole-Body Vibration in Geriatric Rehabilitation

  • Martin Runge
  • Jörn RittwegerEmail author


Aging is accompanied by an accumulation of diseases and disabilities, which threaten a person’s functional independence. Within the progression of disablement, neuromuscular decline is a key factor, conceptualized by the terms ‘sarcopenia’ and ‘frailty’. Physical activity, and in particular physical exercise, is the only acknowledged countermeasure to halt this process. However, the majority of old persons do not attain the recommended levels of physical activity, and readiness to engage in a physical exercise program is declining as we grow old. On the other hand, physical activity would have to be maintained over years and decades for a profound impact on health at old age. We therefore question whether the currently recommended training regimens, which had originally been designed for younger people or even athletes, are fit for purpose in the geriatric population. It is then discussed in how far the particularities of whole-body vibration (WBV) address the specific needs of geriatric patients. The efficacy for a broad range of age-related deficits, the short time frame with multiple repetitions, the relatively low demands for the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, the low rating of perceived exertion, and an easy way to instruct and supervise the method could facilitate long-term adherence of vibration therapy in geriatric medicine. Especially for bed-ridden and chair-bound patients, tilt table WBV could be a supplementary opportunity to enlarge the established therapy and training regimens.


Side-alternating mechanostimulation Elderly Exercise Frailty Sarcopenia Muscle power Adherence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geriatric Center Esslingen-Kennenburg, Private PracticeEsslingenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Aerospace MedicineGerman Aerospace Center (DLR)CologneGermany
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent MedicineUniversity of CologneCologneGermany

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