Injury is a very common occurrence when it comes to sport or fitness. A pulled hamstring here and a shin splint there sometimes means that you’ll have to give up training for a brief period of time and focus on recovery.
That may not be the most ideal, especially if you are a sports enthusiast.
Fret not. Thankfully, new and upcoming forms of sports therapy have emerged, enabling you to continue your athletic conditioning even through physical therapy rehabilitation.
One such form that is creating a lot of hype is the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. It has only recently landed in Australia, and already, physios such as Moon Runners and the Sydney Sports Medicine Centre have jumped on board the bandwagon to offer it as part of their services.
What is it?
If you’re curious about this new trainer, it’s actually a treadmill that boasts “anti-gravity” capabilities, meaning that it has unweighting technology that enables you to walk or run at anywhere between 20 and 100 per cent of your body weight.
Doing so lowers the impact of movement on your joints and muscles during exercise, easing you back into full recovery.
You may think the technology is something out of this world – and it actually is. It was originally, believe it or not, invented for astronauts to work out on to combat bone mass and muscle loss in microgravity.
Since then, the idea has evolved to help those recovering from hip, knee, foot and leg injuries.
How it works
At first sight, it may look like a bounce house for the lower half of your body (you’re encased in airtight plastic from the waist down on a specially designed treadmill) but as it inflates around your lower body, it lifts you off the surface of the treadmill depending on how much you want to be “unweighted”.
Practically allowing you to run on air, this Anti-Gravity Treadmill is not only for recovery, it also enhances cardiovascular performance.
Researchers say it can be used to work on your gait correction, if you are looking to taper your body before a marathon, strength and conditioning if you are of older age, or simply for weight control and reduction.
It suits a broad spectrum of people – from top level athletes through to orthopaedic patients, to those looking to achieve personal health and performance goals.
But for maximum benefits, make sure you train with a health professional – you don’t want to end up overexerting yourself too early into the process and cause more pain than good. Your health practitioner will make sure your body weight setting is monitored according to your recovery needs and follow you through your rehabilitation process to ensure you heal pain free.
And most of the sessions aren’t that expensive – on average, they cost about $90 for a supervised session, which includes instruction, an introduction to the machine, a training program and supervision by a physiotherapist for an hour.
Go give it a go and experience what it feels like to run in space.