What are the anti-gravity treadmills? Not all of us have come across the word “anti-gravity” treadmills. The very word seems intriguing, but the concept is emerging as a winner in the treadmill market.
One of the best-suggested equipment for preventive rehab, an anti-gravity or zero-gravity treadmill, is an innovative way to safeguard the body from injuries. This way, we can be sure that we don’t end up paying expensive medical bills.
Also known as a space treadmill, an anti-gravity treadmill is a piece of fitness equipment that allows individuals to exercise at a lower percentage of the human body weight.
That’s why this model has attracted rehab patients, as it permits these individuals to perform exercises, minimizing the pain and increasing their motivation to exercise regularly. But, these are also one of the most expensive machines in the market.
History of Anti-Gravity Treadmill
The name, anti-gravity treadmill, rings a bell with science-fiction movies, and the very fact that this model was invented by a biomechanics researcher at NASA Ames Research Center named Robert Whalen approves our intuition.
However, this is simply not a theoretical concept but a reality where the treadmill wraps the individual’s lower part of the body inside an airtight chamber.
Having umpteen benefits, anti-gravity treadmills are becoming popular these days.
The ISS (International Space Station) treadmill is used by astronauts working at ISS to exercise daily to avoid reducing bone mass and muscles.
The G force treadmill keeps the astronaut attached to the treadmill while exercising with the help of straps that wrap around the shoulders and buttocks.
But, this model has space for improvements as it doesn’t replicate the magnitude and pressures experienced on Earth. Such problems have been experienced by astronauts, including Sunita Williams.
To combat such flaws, Whalen came up with a treadmill design that helps astronauts exercise at their normal body weight, unlike the ISS treadmill that allows exercising at around 60% of the astronaut’s body weight.
In 2005, Whalen’s son, Sean Whalen, used his dad’s treadmill design to come up with a technology that could prove to be useful for rehab patients allowing them to stand, walk, and run.
Sean’s technology was licensed to AlterG, and it’s this company that coined the term “anti-gravity treadmill.” Using the treadmill,
This treadmill is mainly advantageous for rehab patients to nullify their body weight, helping them recover without much pain, rather than using this to add weight to ISS astronauts.
How Does the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill Work?
This G force treadmill makes use of air pressure to lower the bodyweight percentage of the patient by unloading and loading to make the body as weightless as possible.
The dress you wear also makes a difference when it comes to the working methodology of this treadmill. It is recommended that you wear a set of tight neoprene shorts, which is like a skirt with zipper teeth.
Once you get into the chamber of this machine (this is similar to a bubble), zip it from inside so that the lower body is enwrapped in air pressure.
Make adjustments to the body support percentage as per running or walking requirements as the machine gets set as per every individual’s requirement.
As the bubble is clear to look at, the rehab physicians find it very easy to monitor movement and gait mechanics making the antigravity treadmill a perfect choice for rehab clinics.
The patient is all the time in contact with the treadmill belt, which negates any chances of floating inside the system.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Alter-G Anti-Gravity Treadmill?
There are tremendous benefits of using an Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill as listed below:
- Research shows that Anti-Gravity Treadmills can maximize chances of recovery post lower limb operation, offers protection against knee arthritis and promotes exercising ability in patients with lower limb atherosclerosis. Getting a total knee replacement doesn’t mean that we cannot exercise as the anti-gravity treadmill can be used for the rehabilitation of such patients.
- Most college and professional sports teams in the USA use the AlterG treadmill to train their individuals. Rehabilitation for soldiers in VA hospitals and centers and individuals with weight-related problems who can’t support their weight can use this treadmill.
- The term zero-gravity might seem strange when we hear it initially, and some might even have inhibitions regarding the AlterG treadmill’s safety. On the contrary, the treadmill couldn’t be safer. Regardless of the training level, anyone can make use of this machine as there is a setting for all, helping every individual achieve fitness goals.
- Rehabilitation duration can be decreased as much as possible when we make use of the anti-gravity treadmill, especially for those suffering from foot and leg injuries. But remember, this is not a magic device that brings instant results but a machine that helps individuals recovery faster.
How to Use an Anti-Gravity Treadmill
As mentioned earlier, to use the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, the individual wears a specific kind of shorts and then zipped inside the air chamber on the treadmill.
The lower part of the body is engulfed in a cocoon of air, reducing the patient’s body weight. Besides running and walking, patients can also perform many other weight-related movements on the treadmill.
The percentage by which you can lift depends on the anti-gravity factor as per recommendations given by the staff.
Individuals can feel between 20 and 100 of their body weight. Depending on the training program, it is possible to increase the weight gradually. For instance, a person weighing 150 pounds weighs only 30 pounds inside the chamber when the anti-gravity factor is around 20%. When the factor is 50%, the person weighs only 75 pounds.
It is possible to work out at a speed of up to 18 miles/hour, which is admirable.
It also has adjustable inclination options. Above all, it facilitates superb rehabilitation training by enabling the rehab staff to get a clear view of the patient’s every movement from all different angles.