The Next Hot Exercise Tool: Vibrating Shoes
In the last decade, whole body vibration therapy has become more main stream. Typically you’ll find vibrating platforms in sports training centers, and many professional sports teams have these machines in their gyms. Exercising on the vibrating platform at different frequencies can allow you to build endurance more quickly and effectively in isolated muscle systems. You can also perform static holds and poses on the vibrating platform as a means of passive exercise, and it can actually work your muscles out while you hold the pose. The vibration activates the stress reflex of your muscles and causes extremely rapid muscle contraction.
Whole body vibration is credited with improving circulation, muscle strength and flexibility, and also improving range of motion, helping to condition your core abdominal muscles. It’s also credited with improving muscle recovery time after exercise.
The newest trend coming down the exercise pipeline is shoes that vibrate. Two studies recently published suggest that the shoes can actually improve balance and agility. The vibrating insoles are credited with improving balance when you’re fatigued and improving overall agility.
The shoes, developed at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University underwent two individual studies to assess the impact of the vibration on balance and agility.
In one study published in the Journal of Biomechanics, recreational athletes who tested the shoes completed agility testing a tenth of a second faster, compared to when they were wearing standard shoes.
In the second study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the vibrating sole technology helped exercise enthusiasts to maintain balance and walking stability, again, even when fatigued.
The vibrations cannot really be felt when you wear the shoes, but the low level vibrations appear to be strong enough to “pre-sensitize” the nerves. The result is that they need less energy to complete certain tasks.
Wyss Institute has signed a licensing deal with an undisclosed company in the hopes that the device will be developed and brought to the retail marketplace. Stay tuned for more information.