Progressive ageing of the population has generated an increase in chronic diseases . The concomitant increases in morbidity create vulnerability and frailty in older persons.
Frailty is a common syndrome in older persons . Signs and symptoms of this problem are believed to factors such as fatigue, weight loss, exhaustion, weakness, slow walking speed, decreased balance, low levels of physical activity, slowed motor processing and performance, social withdrawal, cognitive changes, and increased vulnerability to stressors [3–6].
Most falls in older persons are caused by frailty [7, 8] and multiple medications [9–11]. Research from the United Kingdom , the United States  and Australia  has shown that falls are a tremendous burden to social and health services. Besides affecting psychological and physical health, fractures from falls often imply hospitalization, thereby increasing morbidity. It has been estimated that total health costs attributable to fall-related injuries will practically triple in the next 50 years. Strategies to prevent the negative consequences of falls are needed. One such strategy is exercise [15, 16].
Institutionalized older people have less capacity to exercise, and greater osteoarticular deterioration and fatigue than non-institutionalized older people . Improving their physical activity could increase their autonomy and help prevent falls [17–23]. Fighting sedentary attitudes and promoting physical exercise are growing challenges for physiotherapists and other health professionals working in nursing homes.
Whole body vibration is a type of physical exercise that consists of performing static and dynamic exercises on a platform. These effects of this type of exercise have been studied previously in two studies in nursing home residents [24, 25]. The results of these interventions were not conclusive because there are differences in the study protocols and limitations in the study designs. Both studies analysed functional capacity and muscle performance but neither recorded the number of falls.
The aim of the present study is to assess the effect of whole-body vibration training on body balance comparing to exercise without vibration in institutionalized older persons. Secondarily, we will evaluate the effects of training on muscular strength and prevention of falls in this population.