What would it be like to run on the moon?
The moons gravity is 17% of earth, so if you weighed 200 lbs on earth, you would be 34 lbs on the moon. If you had some sort of joint pain in your legs, that would be awesome to be able to run or walk at that weight.
On Earth we have to deal with standard gravity, or do we?
While we can’t actually change the gravitational force of the earth, we can work around it. Which can be incredibly helpful if we are looking train around an injury.
Enter the AlterG (anti-gravity) treadmill.
The AlterG treadmill works using Differential Air Pressure (DAP) to help reduce your weight in precise 1% increments. The treadmill has a large air bag surrounding it, and you put on shorts that will form a seal from the waist down. The bag then inflates and the air pressure can be adjusted to reduce your weight. The range of weight adjustment will vary depending on your size, but generally it can go as low as 20%. So we can’t actually simulate the Moon, but Mars is possible (it’s 38%).
Although living out dreams of running on Mars is fun, there are many more uses for the AlterG besides that. Whether you are a runner in top shape or barely able to walk, we can use this to help you improve! Here are some of the ways we can use this to help you out, and we will continue to add to this as we go!
Runners Adding Mileage
Increasing running mileage increases the cardiovascular base to improve your running. This is simple to get better at running you need to run more. However this can carry a number of it’s own issues. Increasing volume too much or too quickly can lead to injury. Adding volume tends to be a fine line before it’s too much. However with the AlterG treadmill we can reduce the weight of the runner to reduce the stress on the joints, but still build on the aerobic base.
Similarly, you can get back to running after a tough workout or big race. Recently, I completed Ironman Texas and I won’t lie. I felt like garbage the following week. I was, however, able to get back to training pretty quickly afterwards by using the anti gravity treadmill. Which was key because I felt like it was a good idea to run a marathon 4 weeks after completing IM Texas. Again, after the marathon I was able to get right back to training. Why would anyone want to do something like that? Keeping things on the schedule helped to keep me focused in my training, and after big events we tend to take too much time off and don’t get right back into it.
Training at Higher Intensity
To get fast you have to run fast, or at least some of your running needs to be fast. Adding in higher intensity running can help with building in strength, but again it can lead to more injuries. That’s why we don’t just run as hard as we can every time (if you do, we need to talk). There is going to be some debate here that running at a lighter weight at a faster pace won’t translate to when you are running at your regular weight on the road, and we will address this more in depth later. The AlterG treadmill is a great way to run at a harder pace with less impact on your legs.
Running Injury Recovery
Running has one of the highest injury rates of any sport. While a lot of these injuries aren’t bad enough to sideline us from the sport forever. They can definitely derail training plans. As we increase mileage leading into a big race the odds of picking up a minor injury are pretty high and at the worst time! Often these injuries can sort themselves out with some Physical Therapy and reduced volume. If we have something on the schedule that we want to accomplish, running on the AlterG can keep us moving forward while we recover.
Recovering from Surgery
Surgery on the lower extremity usually involves some down time. As you return to full strength, you will progress through different levels of how much weight you can put on you feet. This is referred to as weight bearing or % of weight bearing. With the AlterG we can dial in exactly what percent weight bearing you can tolerate and begin to work on building strength on the recovering limb. That could be either walking or more precise exercises that M3 can help you with.
Walking and running are regarded as the top calories burned per minute exercise. Without getting too much into physiology, EPOC, HIIT, etc. running (and to a lesser extent walking) is the best calorie burner. However, if your weight causes pain for you to walk or run, we can use the treadmill to help you with that. Starting a routine walk/run program will help you to not only lose weight, but build the capacity to exercise without assistance. (Disclaimer: the AlterG does have a weight and size limit) Combining a walk/run program with a strength training and nutrition programs can really help you drop the weight. Starting your journey here and progressing into more exercise options can really get you going on the path to better health!
This isn’t the full list of ways you can incorporate the AlterG into your training, and we are seeing new options come up all the time. If you would like to learn more about how it could help you just reach out! Either set up a time to come in for an introduction an planning session or just enter your information below to get started!