Light On Your Feet MR test-drives the latest in treadmill technology. We haven’t felt this light since we were in short trousers
With injuries the curse of many a runner, the most frustrating aspect of your body failing you is the fact that you’re robbed of running. Cross training has its place in any rehab programme, but time resting or on the bike, rower or cross trainer can seldom replace the feel-good factor you get from putting one foot in front of the other.
That’s where the Alter-G Anti-Gravity treadmill comes in. You have to insert yourself into a pair of neoprene shorts before zipping yourself into what looks like the skirt of a hovercraft. At the press of a couple of buttons on the touchscreen display the skirt inflates, taking your body weight with it but allowing your feet to remain firmly on the floor. Then you start running.
It’s a bizarre sensation to know that thanks to the NASA technology your feet are striking the treadmill as they normally would but thanks to the air inside the skirt, the impact can be completely eradicated, along with the pain in your wonky knee. With the treadmill set to take the strain of 20 per cent of our weight, we clipped along painlessly for 15 minutes and could happily have carried on had we not had to stop and ask Scott Morris, performance director of Balance Performance Physiotherapy in London, what it was all about.
“The clever bit is its computer which works out how much air to pump into the bag to take your desired weight off. You can go right down to 20 per cent body weight, but the key is to find a level where you can run at comfortable point, pain free.
“It will speed up your rehab. Runners want to run and with this we can keep you running and so keep your fitness up. It gives runners a big boost as well because you can keep doing what you want to do pain free while going through the rehab process.”
It’s as unlikely that you’re going to buy one as your local gym will be to replace its banks of current treadmills for row upon row of these, but if you’re looking for a way to run while injured and do it pain free, this is it. Sessions from 30 to 60 minutes at Balance start at £12.50 (www.balancephysio.com)
while in Cheltenham at Dan Fivey’s gym you can pay £20.00 for half an hour, www.danfiveypersonaltraining.co.uk