By Mike Seidenfrau
The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill gives runners the opportunity to exercise without pain. It utilizes unweighting technology which reduces the impact of walking or running on the joints, and allows our bodies to recover from injury. We can walk or run at 20% to 100% of their body weight. Simply stated, a runner who weighs 100 lbs. can run as if she weighed 50lbs. This is a much truer running experience then running in a pool, and the value in this for the competitive runner is the ability to run while healing from injury.
The experience started with talking to the staff at Performance Health at 2 Blue Hill Plaza. My gait was looked at on a regular treadmill, and my injury history was reviewed. Next, I put on the special shorts, which felt a little like I was putting on scuba or diving gear. I was zipped into the “chamber”. My legs from the hips down were in a chamber on the treadmill, my upper body was free. I had 3 camera views of my feet; I was able to alternate camera views while I was running. I found this experience to be extremely insightful. Now I know why I have Plantar Fasciitis, and I was able to correct my form.
I ran a tempo run with a 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at my 15k pace (I had to speed up to get more of a workout during this phase), and a gradual 1 mile cool down. I set the incline at 2%. I ran part of the run as if I was 12 pounds less, some at 30 pounds less, and some at 40lbs less. It was a better running experience then pool running; it was much easier then running outside or on a treadmill (please note about 50% of my race training is on a treadmill). Generally I feel the difference between outdoor running and treadmill running in my hips. Interestingly from that standpoint, the experience felt closer to an outdoor run then a treadmill run. On the plus side, I did get a much better workout then riding a stationary bike or a cross-trainer. I can verify that my joints did not feel like I ran, and my muscles were less stressed.
It was a very comfortable run, although I was strapped into a “chamber”, my movement was free and easy, and as I “lowered” my weight, it felt as if I was being picked up, and as I “raised” my weight I felt like I was being lowered to the ground. The only area of potential discomfort is a matter of getting used to the shorts, and the feeling of being “picked up” or “put down” as you adjust your weight while running. However, once you get past the adjustment, that feeling goes away.
The value in this treadmill from my perspective is the ability to return to a running experience while healing, and get a much better running feel then pool running. A runner could return to running weeks or months ahead of time on this treadmill while rehabbing from injury when compared to running on a hard surface. Those who may run infrequently or have stopped running due to chronic injuries would be able to return to a running experience without stressing the joints and I would suggest another RRR with more significant injuries than me try it out.
Performance Health is offering an exclusive deal to RRR members until Dec. 31. It is offering 5 sessions for $100 (normally it’s $175), or 10 sessions for $150 (normally it’s $300). Each session is 30 minutes. You must also purchase the special shorts, a one-time cost of $75. If interested in this offer, please contact Jamie Kempton at firstname.lastname@example.org