Is there any such thing as “passive exercise”, or activity that burns calories without you having to do much, if anything at all? If you’ve ever seen one of those old belt-driven machines that jiggled your body, then you’ve got a good idea of what passive exercise is all about. Popular as they were, those old machines didn’t do much of anything, but today there are a variety of new exercise tools available that claim to help you lose weight passively. Let’s take a look at a few of them and see if any really work (with determinations courtesy of WebMD).
Whole Body Vibration Exercise
This one is a modern take on those old belt-driven machines. Whole Body Vibration (WBV) is a type of workout routine that requires participants to do nothing more than stand on a special platform. Bend your knees, then turn on the machine, which vibrates 30 times per second. Because your body thinks it could be falling while you balance on the platform, this is supposed to contract your muscles and result in improved muscle strength, circulation, range of motion, flexibility and core conditioning.
According to the experts, it really does work – especially in regards to increasing bone density and circulation. But it doesn’t necessarily help you lose weight and the health claims of WBV are inflated. It’s a good adjunct to a regular exercise routine and could benefit elderly people who have a difficult time exercising more strenuously.
This one reminds us of those old belts fastened with Velcro that were supposed to sweat away the inches around your middle. This time, instead of relying on sweat alone, the ab stimulating machine provides electrical shocks to your abdominal muscles to make them contract. The theory is that your muscles work passively in response to the electric stimulus, much like a form of physical therapy, all while you watch TV or do chores around the house.
So, do ab stimulators really work the stomach muscles? To some extent, yes. You will increase circulation to the area and provide it with added nutrients to heal injuries, but until you lose belly fat, you certainly won’t get a set of six-pack abs merely by shocking your tummy for 30 minutes a day.
An important note: in 2003, three manufacturers of ab stimulator products responded to an FTC charge for making false advertising claims by paying a big settlement.
There’s a popular inversion machine that works on the same principle as inversion boots; both types of devices strap you in so you can hang upside down. The supposed benefit of these devices is improved posture, pain relief, increased circulation and core strengthening. This “decompression” temporarily reverses the effects of gravity. And indeed, that does happen – temporarily. The minute you get out of the machine, any benefits are lost – and the claim to strengthen core muscles doesn’t hold up.
It can be beneficial, however, for those who suffer from chronic back pain in order to find some brief relief. But for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure or those who are severely overweight, an inversion device can actually be dangerous.
FIT Bodywrap© Infrared System
Fit Bodywraps© also provide a passive form of exercise – but the system is based on a tried-and-true methodology: far infrared rays (FIR), the same found in traditional saunas. Delivered through the body wrap, FIR stimulates circulation, detoxifies the body, softens the skin and burns calories. This is because your body must work (work=calories burned) in order to cool down from the heat generated from the inside out. It takes energy to produce cooling sweat and that’s why in just an hour-long session, you can burn over 1,000 calories and lose several inches around your waistline. This is one passive exercise that really works. Yes, you will be dripping in sweat by the time your session is over, but it’s that sweat that proves the system really works.
We’d all like to hear that we can simply sit back and relax while losing weight. Is it impossible? Actually, you can burn calories passively – if you add weekly FIT Bodywraps© to a sensible exercise and diet routine.