Passive exercise, an effective therapy? Exploring whole body vibration, therapeutic motion simulation and a combination of both

Marelle Heesterbeek

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

1049 Downloads (Pure)


It is generally known that physical activity can have positive effects on both physical and cognitive health. But what if it is not possible to be or stay physically active, as is often the case in older adults with dementia? In this thesis we examined the feasibility, effects and possible underlying mechanisms of two potential alternatives, whole body vibration (WBV) and therapeutic motion simulation (TMSim), to physical activity. Both can be applied regardless of someone’s physical or cognitive abilities. During WBV the participants sits on a platform that transfers mechanical oscillations (30 Hz) to the body. During TMSim activity videos (e.g. horse-riding, dancing or walking) are played on the television screen, matching sounds and music are played and the device on which the participant is seated moves synchronically with the movements on the screen. Thereby, the participant on the platform experiences it as if they engage in the activities on the screen themselves. During both forms of ‘’passive exercise’ the visual, auditory, tactile and proprioceptive senses are stimulated. Therefore, we expected that it will have positive effects on quality of life, cognitive and physical function of institutionalized older adults with dementia. Unfortunately, six weeks, four sessions/week of passive exercise was not effective in improving these outcome measures. However, passive exercise was feasible to apply and was appreciated very well in this population. Therefore, passive exercise could be used as adjunct treatment, complementary to current activity programs in nursing home care in order to breach inactivity levels and reduce boredom.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • van der Zee, Eddy, Supervisor
  • van Heuvelen, Marieke, Co-supervisor
Award date13-Sep-2019
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-1913-8
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1912-1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Cite this