4+1 Q&A on passive exercise
Working out while relaxing is the concept behind passive exercise. But how does it work?
We collaborated with fitness experts and personal trainers to answer all your questions and get a deeper insight into this huge fitness trend.
What is the difference between active and passive exercise?
Active exercise is any type of exercise involving physical effort exerted into muscular activity. On the contrary, passive exercise is any type of exercise where someone else in moving your body for you, or you are working with some sort of passive exercise equipment.
How did we ever come up with the idea of passive exercise?
The idea seems to have grown along the Russian cosmonauts training programs, as a method of training them and keeping them fit. Gradually it grew into a tool often used to help people who cannot follow conventional exercising (elderly, people suffering from multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's etc), helping them build bone density and having a positive effect in circulation, muscle stimulation and strength.
In which forms is passive exercise found
One of the most common forms of passive exercise is the vibrating platform. Most people stand on the platform with their knees bent at an angle of 30 degrees. The platform then starts vibrating, tricking the body into thinking it is falling. This feeling activates the stress reflex - an extremely rapid muscle contraction which helps exercise most of the main body muscles (legs, abdomen, back etc).
Another common form of passive exercise is electronic muscle stimulators, which use belts or electrodes wired to a battery, providing tiny electric shocks at timed intervals, designed to stimulate muscle contractions. The principle behind passive exercise stimulators comes from physical therapy, where small electric shocks are used to contract injured muscles.
So, passive exercise in not just too good to be true?
The benefits of passive exercise are quite clear in groups of people who simply do not have the alternative of normal exercising so we can safely conclude that it is beneficial even for individuals who have the choice of normal exercising. But, instead of relying on it solely I would propose using such equipment as an adjunct to normal exercise routines. In addition to this, we need to remember that passive exercise will not help you lose weight or burn fat, which is critical in sculpting your body.
Is passive exercise suitable for everybody?
No, actually passive exercise is not suitable for everybody. It should not be used during pregnancy or breast feeding, by children or people with limited sensory or mental abilities, or by people with pace makers or implants of any sort. In general, before commencing use of any type of exercise it is strongly advised that you consult your doctor for a personal assessment.