Low-intensity electrical muscle stimulation induces significant increases in muscle strength and cardio fitness.

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of low-intensity exercise training using belt electrode skeletal muscle electrical stimulation on muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness in healthy subjects. Nineteen healthy subjects were allocated into control or intervention groups; in both groups the participants kept regular physical activity while the intervention group underwent 30 min B-SES training at 3-4 METs for four weeks. Knee extensor muscle strength and cardiorespiratory endurance during incremental exercise test were measured at baseline and after four weeks for all participants. The relative change of knee extensor muscle strength in the intervention group was significantly higher than control group (p < .05). Also, oxygen uptake at ventilator threshold and peak oxygen uptake during incremental exercise test significantly increased in the intervention group when compared with control group (p < .05). This study showed that prolonged low-intensity B-SES training resulted in significant increases in muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness in healthy subjects.

The present work suggested that B-SES training could assist patients who might have difficulty performing adequate voluntary exercise because of excessive obesity, orthopaedic problems and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. An intervention study conducted for such patients is strongly recommended.