Hearing something such as an anti-gravity treadmill, the very initial thoughts that come into mind often include science fiction. To be certain, it seems like a concept rather than a reality.
Anti-gravity treadmill or zero gravity treadmill has been touted as the form of preventive rehab available on the marketplace to future-proof the body from injury and also conserve your nickels and pennies on fitness bills.
This exceptional piece of equipment, also known as a space treadmill, enables individuals to walk or run at a lower percentage of the body weight. This is beneficial, especially in the clinical setting, since it might help patients to perform rehabilitation therapy without much pain.
History of Anti-Gravity Treadmill
It is not unusual that this weightless treadmill has been Invented by a man called Robert Whalen, a biomechanics researcher at NASA Ames Research Center, the 1992 design provided a treadmill which surrounded the individual’s lower body within an airtight chamber. In the last several decades, anti-gravity treadmills have become a popular topic due to their variety of benefits.
Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) need to exercise every day in microgravity to fight the reduction of bone mass and muscles. However, the ISS treadmill has always left a lot to be desired.
Instead of gravity, this G force treadmill utilizes straps around the shoulders and buttocks to anchor the astronaut into the treadmill while exercising. It is quite embarrassing to run in, and the system does not do a terrific job of recreating exact magnitude or types of pressure which runners & triathletes experience here on Earth. Astronaut Sunita Williams explained her experience in a NASA press release.
Whalen made a treadmill that would allow astronauts to run organically. Unlike the ISS’s old treadmill enabling Williams to run about 60% of her weight on Earth, Whalen’s new zero gravity treadmill could have enabled her to exercise at her normal weight. That is important for maintaining the muscles and bones healthy if astronauts come down to home. However, Whalen’s idea never came to fruition.
Back in 2005, Whalen’s son, Sean Whalen, an engineering student, chose to revive his dad’s experimental treadmill. His idea was to utilize the reduced gravity simulator to help rehab patients learn how to stand, walk, and also run again.
The technology has been licensed to a company called AlterG, which seems to have introduced the term “anti-gravity treadmill.” AlterG employs this technology to take the weight from rehab patients recovering from leg and foot injuries rather than adding weight to astronauts in the ISS for maintaining their muscle.
How does the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill work?
The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, seems like a bounce house for the lower body, utilizes unloading and progressive loading to create weightlessness. This G force treadmill utilizes air pressure to help unweight the patient.
To leverage it, you wear a set of neoprene shorts that are pretty tight. The Shorts possess a kind of skirt which is lined with zipper teeth. You step within the chamber of the device, very similar to a bubble, and is zipped inside. This permits the lower body to be surrounded and backed by the air pressure. The body support percentage can be adjusted for walking or running when the system gets calibrated for a particular individual.
Mainly utilized in physical rehab clinics, the clear back of the bubble makes it possible for the therapist to detect mobility and gait mechanics for much more comprehensive treatment. The individual keeps contact with the treadmill belts all the time rather than floating inside the system.
Benefits of Alter-G Anti-Gravity Treadmill?
- Professional and college sports teams all around the USA include the AlterG treadmill within their training centers. Soldiers walk and run using the technology’s help in VA hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. People with weight problems who can’t typically support their weight can benefit from this zero-gravity trainer.
- There’s been research to confirm Anti-Gravity Treadmills have the capability to enhance recovery after lower limb operation1, helps the fight against knee arthritis2, can encourage exercise for lower limb atherosclerosis patients3. What is more, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill can be utilized to facilitate rehabilitation following total knee replacement4.
- A machine that creates zero gravity will make people somewhat nervous if we are speaking about something, such as an injury; however, the treadmill could not be safer. Irrespective of your experience level, you may find a setting that will enable you to accomplish the type of results you’ve got in mind.
- Though an anti-gravity treadmill is not a miracle device, it’s shown that using it, the amount of time devoted to recovery can be brought down to a great degree with foot and leg injuries, conditions that could take years of rehabilitation work.
An actual anti-gravity machine, one that is not affected by gravity, will have applications in spaceflight. For today, those machines only work in science fiction movies. Regardless of the strange title, this is among the most intriguing, gravity-defying treadmills we’ve ever discovered.