No Gravity Running?! Testing Out the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill

I’ve been super lucky the past ten years or so…avoiding injury and any major aches and pains. I’ve chalked it up to taking off when I feel the need to, stretching a lot, sleeping even more and keeping my body strong. However, that all changed two weeks ago when I felt a pain in my left knee. Since then, I’ve been spending my days in Acupuncture (Integrated Holistic Medicine in Boca Raton) sessions with Carlos and Su and Physical Therapy (Physical Therapy Institute, Inc.) with Krystal.

IMG_7924Acupuncture is always my go-to…however, I knew while waiting for my knee to heal/feel better, I’d have to look at other alternatives to keep my body in shape and endurance high. A few of my Spanish River High School athletes had tried the AlterG(R) Anti-Gravity Treadmill at the Physical Therapy Insititute in Delray Beach, as had my co-coach Doug Horn….and all spoke highly of the unique experience. So when Krystal offered up the machine during my PT session, I jumped on board. (Besides the fact that the machine looked REALLY cool; I hadn’t run for a few days and was itching to get my legs moving!)

So what is the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill?

Anti-gravity treadmills, like the AlterG, are taking the aches and pains out of cardiovascular training by “unweighting” runners from 20 to 100 percent of their bodyweight, one percent at a time. The benefit? The AlterG can reduce the risk of stress-related / pounding injuries, while allowing athletes to train harder, faster, and smarter in a safe, controlled environment. Learn more here.

Krystal had me put on the tight neoprane spandex-style pants, step into the machine, get zipped up, and begin. After the machine calibrates you and your weight, you can change the speed and the percentage of body weight that you feel (i.e. you can run at 50% body weight and feel like you are literally flying). I quickly turned up the speed and felt my legs turning…FAST. I have to say it’s a pretty unique experience. Like pool running but so much more realistic. I was only on the treadmill for a brief 10 minutes but it felt like far less (two-four minutes at most). I found myself yearning for a lot more time on the treadmill…and wondering how I could make this a part of my daily routine (regardless of whether I had an injury). It turns out, I am not alone, in the yearning…professional athletes and sports teams around the country have their own AlterG treadmills and are changing the way athletes train (in good health or not) every day.

The negative? Really only the cost…The treadmills are expensive – hence going to a physical therapy location to use it. It will be a long time before your neighbors (or me) have an AlterG in their garage / home gym. The treadmills start at around $34K…

Here’s a good video from Runner’s World of the AlterG: “Running on Air.”

 

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