Hip Injuries and Your Rehabilitation Options

Hip injuries are among the most common causes of reduced mobility and disability in adults older than 60. Rehabilitation after hip injury can greatly reduce the chances of becoming disabled. Treatment that includes extensive physical therapy has been shown to enhance recovery results after hip injury, improving mobility, strength, range of motion, balance and endurance — all critical factors in the ability to resume an active lifestyle.

Why Rehabilitation is Essential

Rehabilitation is an integral part of hip replacement procedures. Therapy following hip replacement surgery helps restore range of motion and build muscle in the hip area, increasing support for the newly installed hip implant to lower the risk of dislocation or failure. Rehabilitation should begin almost immediately after surgery for the most benefit, since inactivity in the aftermath of surgical injury to the hip can impede recovery.

Rehabilitation after a hip fracture is crucial to regaining health and mobility. Hip fractures are among the most common hip injuries in the over-60 crowd, occurring in approximately 350,000 seniors per year, and among the most debilitating. Generally, fractures are repaired surgically, or if the hip joint is significantly damaged, hip replacement may be done.

Patients who do not undergo rehabilitation therapy have a much higher rate of disability after hip fracture. A good percentage will not regain their ability to walk without assistance. Patients who fail to regain mobility and independence after hip fracture are at high risk for a general decline in health, well-being and physical function that can, in some cases, lead to premature death.

On the other hand, patients who undergo extensive rehabilitation after the repair of a hip fracture can often emerge from the process with more mobility, strength and endurance than they had before their procedure. Physical therapy also reduces the risk of post-surgery complications.

Rehabilitation can be especially important in patients who must undergo revision surgeries, particularly those who have tissue or bone damage from implant failures or complications. Osteolysis and metallosis, which are serious inflammatory conditions related to implant debris, can make recovery a more difficult process.

Rehabilitation Options

Once patients have been discharged from the hospital, they can choose to go on to a rehabilitation center, use outpatient therapy services or have a therapist work with them at home. While outpatient or home therapy is certainly better than no therapy at all, best results are often found in using a rehabilitation center, since they are equipped to provide the intensive therapy that optimal recovery demands. A rehabilitation hospital is staffed with experts to direct and aid patients in recovery, ensuring safe and effective exercise and mobility. Rehabilitation centers also give patients access to state-of-the-art rehabilitation equipment, such as AlterG’s physical therapy treadmill, resistance exercise equipment, and other tools that can aid in faster and more complete recovery.

The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, which has an optional Lift accessory that can hoist the patient from a wheelchair, makes recovery comfortable and safe. The AlterG supports the patient while allowing partial weight bearing. The treadmill helps to make the recovery period shorter and less painful. This is ideal for seniors, who already have a tough time going through rehabilitation.

 

Written by Guest Bloggers at Drug Watch

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Road to the Olympics: Interview with Shannon Rowbury

With the 2012 London Olympics right around the corner, AlterG is buzzing with excitement. Which AlterG athletes will make the team? Who will take home the gold? Who is using the AlterG to train?

One Olympic hopeful, Shannon Rowbury, has been using the AlterG for years.

In between her extensive training regimen we were able to speak with Shannon and dig deeper about her use of the AlterG.

Q: What injury were you recently using the AlterG to recover from?

A: A stress fracture in my Femoral Left Neck (left femur bone).

Q: Why was the AlterG helpful in your recovery?

A: AlterG allowed me to begin running 6 weeks after my diagnosis, when I otherwise would have only been cleared to use an elliptical. The beauty of AlterG is that it allowed me to gradually build up my physical strength in running. At the same, I was also able to build back my confidence in my body, which is just as vital. By the time I was cleared to run on the ground, I knew that I was capable and I was able to progress from running 0 to 50 ground miles per week within one month.

Q: Since recovering from your injury, have you used the AlterG to train?

A: Yes. I use AlterG as a supplement to my regular training. When I am trying to build my mileage or when I am feeling fatigued, I hop on the machine.

Q: How have you used it to train?

A: When I had my stress fracture, I used it for everything from easy runs to workouts. Last year, when I was recovering from an Achilles injury, I would cool down on the AlterG after my workouts because it was the only way I could run after hard training. This year, I use the AlterG to boost my mileage on high volume weeks or when I am feeling fatigued and want to get a little extra recovery.

Q: How has the AlterG helped your overall performance?

A: AlterG has been a real asset to my running. I do not think I would have recovered as quickly from my stress fracture without AlterG. I also don’t think I would have made the World team last year if I didn’t have AlterG to help me train through my injury.

Q: What else have you been doing to prepare for the Olympics?

A: I have spent a total of 4 months at altitude this year to work on building a strong base. I have also done a lot of work at my “off” distances, to work on my weaknesses.

Q: How does it feel to be setting so many records (like at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and at the 2012 USATF meet) as a US woman?

A: It’s really exciting to be exploring unknown territory. Now that I am in my 5th year as a professional runner, I have experienced both ups and downs, so I have a greater appreciation for those moments of success and I intend to live them to the fullest.

Thanks and good luck Shannon!

Stay tuned to see how she performs this Summer!

Posted in Athletics | 1 Comment

Overweight? Let AlterG help you to your new body.

You’ve been thinking about a weight loss program for a long time now, and maybe you’ve even tried a number of things.  New diets, exercise regimens, possibly hypnosis, and maybe you’ve even considered surgery.  Those things are all fine, but have you considered using the AlterG to help you achieve your weight loss goals?

By using Differential Air Pressure Technology, the AlterG allows overweight individuals to feel what it would be like to be at their desired weight, providing motivation to stay disciplined and achieve their weight loss goals. Reducing body weight and pressure on their joints, also allows patients to exercise safely and effectively without hip, knee, ankle, or foot pain.

Here’s some of the scientific evidence:

  • A large randomized controlled trial at Texas A+M University divided 51 women using diet plans into two groups; half exercised on the AlterG and the other half used a weight-loss program. The results showed that the women who used the AlterG, and got to experience what losing weight would feel like, worked out more vigorously. The AlterG users showed statistically significant improvements in free-fat mass and body fat loss compared to the non-AlterG group.
    Published: J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2011; 8(Suppl 1): P2
  • A case series from the United Kingdom (not yet published) showed that individuals participating in a weight loss program on the AlterG completed 91% of their exercises, as opposed to the typical 50%. These people were “happy” to do the exercise and each of them achieved significant weight loss.
  • A published master’s degree thesis was completed at the PanAm Clinic in Canada by Judit Takacs with professor Jeff Leiter.  These overweight people also had moderate knee pain from osteoarthritis.  By exercising on the AlterG they were able to unweight themselves until they were pain free.  This not only enabled them to exercise but it also gives them a very precise target weight goal.

Based on the experience of the people who have successfully used the AlterG for weight loss, their trainers or therapists, and the available evidence, we have two simple and effective ways to use the AlterG for weight loss.

#1: Feel your new weight

Feeling and exercising at your desired weight can be incredibly empowering. For example, if you weighed 200 pounds and your goal weight was 160 pounds, you could unweight 20% of your body and experience exercising at 160 pounds.

Another way you could find your target weight is by using a BMI calculator. Using the previous example, if the 200-pound individual is 66 inches tall, their BMI is about 32. Ideally, they would be 150 pounds at a healthy BMI of 24. This means they would need to lose 50 pounds. The individual can set the AlterG to provide 25% body weight support. If they do this, get their heart rate up exercising for 30 minutes, 3 times a week, it is likely they will eventually reach their desired weight goal.

Remember to keep checking your weight each week; you’ll need less body weight support as you shed the pounds!

#2: Exercise without knee pain

Many overweight people also have painful joints due to osteoarthritis.  We now have evidence that most people can unweight themselves on the AlterG until their knees feel comfortable.  The research from Dr. Jeff Leiter’s clinic in Canada has shown that on average, a person with moderate knee osteoarthritis would need to unweight themselves by about 12% to get knee pain relief.  That means that a person can use the AlterG to find out the percentage of weight they need to lose in order to reduce their knee pain.

Get on the machine at nearly full body weight and a comfortable walking speed.  Use the AlterG to increase body weight support in 1% increments.  Take a few seconds at each level of support and pay attention to how your knees feel.  Eventually you’ll get to the point where you feel comfortable exercising.  The cool part here is that the machine has just helped you figure out how much weight you need to lose in order to feel better off the machine!  That’s your target body weight. Use the machine three times per week, 30 minutes each session and exercise at your pain-free level of body weight support at 60% to 70% of your heart rate maximum.  Work your weight down over time to your target weight and you’ll probably feel incredibly better.

Many facilities with an AlterG use it to help facilitate a weight loss plan for overweight patients. Robert Porche, Physical Therapist and co-owner of OrthoPTic Rehab Clinic of Metarie, is a member of the AlterG family who uses the Anti-Gravity Treadmills to help his overweight patients lose weight. Porche has AlterG shorts in a 4XL for these patients. Reducing their body weight 30-50% allows them to walk for extended periods of time relatively pain free. He says they are typically surprised, and are able to walk for a lot longer than they have been able to in years. “It gets them walking and motivates them to stay with their nutrition regimen and it keeps them exercising.”

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The New Anterior Approach Hip Replacement Procedure

My mother-in-law recently underwent the new “minimally invasive anterior approach” hip replacement surgery. That’s a mouthful, but it is turning out to be the least painful and quickest recovery when it comes to hip replacement surgery! I was amazed at her speedy recovery and how good she felt after her hip replacement. Knowing others that have gone with the traditional posterior approach, I watched the agonizing and slow rehabilitation process that is so commonplace and the associated healing time in the 6 month range. With the anterior approach, we are talking about possibly walking and going back to your pre-surgery workout routine in 6 weeks. Amazing!

The Minimally Invasive Anterior Approach

The anterior approach is a surgical approach from the front of the hip joint, as opposed to a lateral (side) approach to the hip or posterior (back) approach. An important factor is that the musculature is not detached from the pelvis or femur. The hip is replaced through a natural plane between the muscles and tendons keeping the quads and glutes intact. Special operating room equipment is required for this technique, as well as special physician training. You may have to travel to find a specialist that can do this procedure, but it is worth it. You can learn more about this procedure at Dr. Kreuzer’s website (http://www.stefankreuzermd.com/), a surgeon mentored by the pioneer of this procedure in the U.S., Dr. Joel Matta.

Helpful Pre Surgery Tidbit

I was so compelled to understand how this was possible that I did a little research and found an interesting tidbit to make this procedure, as well as other surgical procedures, a better experience. Comparing notes from a Blog post written by a man that was in good pre-surgery fitness to my mother-in-law who was in okay condition, the man had less pain and was mobile earlier in the recovery process. The key here was the pre-surgery muscle condition. The man, even with the deteriorating hip joint, continued to strengthen his lower body muscles, compared to my mother-in-law who did less and had more lower body deconditioning at the time of the surgery. This is common with most hip replacement candidates, because there is a great amount of pain with everyday tasks such as walking and climbing steps. So, it seems that better conditioning pre-surgery, leads to better recovery post-surgery.

Pre-Surgery Tool

You may be saying to yourself as you read this, “What can I do though, it hurts to bad to do activities?” A solution to maintain or even strengthen your lower body is to use the “AlterG Antigravity Treadmill”! “What is that?” you ask. It is a revolutionary new training and rehabilitation treadmill designed specifically to decrease the impact on lower body joints. It allows you to be mobile without all the downward force from gravity on your joints. The treadmill can be adjusted to the exact point where you feel no more pain and move safely and freely. “Where do I find an AlterG treadmill?” This versatile piece of technology can be found in physical therapy offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and so many other locations across the country. To find a location near you, visit the AlterG Locator website page.

Posted in Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation | 2 Comments

Ideas for Keeping the Weight Off During the Holidays

Before beginning any exercise or dietary program, please talk to your health care professional.

The holiday season is upon us and soon the pounds will be too. Holiday dinners and treats change the way we eat. The added tasks needed to get through this festive time of year, change our daily habits as well. Instead of visiting the gym or taking a walk, we spend our precious extra time doing the holiday hustle and bustle.

The holiday season brings even more challenges for individuals that are rehabilitating, diabetic, or have other medical conditions. I don’t mean to dampen your holiday cheer, but research indicates that weight gain during the holiday season is typically on the order of 5 to 10 pounds. So, all that hard work from the past summer’s activities is gone in less than 5 weeks.

Make a change in your holiday celebrations that includes some new healthy habits that you can use year round. These changes will help to keep the overindulgence to a minimum by increasing your awareness, lessening your desire to overeat at holiday events (such as office parties and family dinners and outings), and increasing the time you exercise even with all the hustle and bustle.

Here are four weight control ideas including exercise, shopping, family activities, and daily eating habits you can incorporate in your routine to help you avoid or at least lessen the seasonal impact on your waistline.

Holiday Weight Control Idea #1: Increase Your Activity Level

The first idea is to include more “active” activities in your holiday routine.

  • Take the stairs instead of elevators
  • Park your car further distance from the entrances of malls and shops
  • When visiting friends or family, walk or take the bus instead of driving

Holiday Weight Control Idea #2: Don’t Let the Weather Get the Best of You

Bad weather can pose a significant challenge to maintaining your usual level of activity during the holiday season. Rather than giving up on your activity during bad weather, find different location for exercise.

  • Shopping malls welcome walkers during the hours prior to opening. Shopping malls are climate-controlled areas and offer a safe environment for exercise. Some local hospitals have walking clubs associated with shopping malls. The walks are scheduled at convenient times during the day.
  • Check out your local physical therapist locations. Some offer state of the art technology to keep you moving without pain or further damage. Equipment can include pools, elliptical machines, or even an unweighting treadmill. The device is called an AlterG. To find a physical therapist or other provider of this unweighting  treadmill click this link or visit www.alter-g.com/ find-an-alterg. This environment offers a safe, supervised and friendly location for exercise.

Holiday Weight Control Idea #3: Involve Your Family and Friends

A third idea is to involve your family and friends in your exercise routine. Holidays offer more opportunities for family togetherness and socializing, so find a way to make these interactions help you maintain your exercise routine.

  • You might consider family walks or cycling trips around your neighborhood.
  • Visiting friends in the neighborhood by taking after-dinner strolls together
  • Caroling with friends or family can keep you moving yet not disrupt your holiday plans.

Holiday Weight Control Idea #4: Change Your Eating Habits

A fourth idea, my personal favorite, is to change the quantity of food and frequency that you eat. I know what you’re thinking, “but I’m so hungry and the food is so good”. Yes, it is, but if you increase the number of time you eat per day and reduce the quantity, you will be amazed at how your stomach (and brain) is so much more satisfied with small portions.

Here’s how you do it.
Breakfast
Always have breakfast first, making sure to have a protein and a complex carbohydrate in the meal. A great example of this is an egg (poached, fried, scrambled, or hard boiled) on a piece of whole wheat or oat butter bread. The protein and butter will keep you satisfied unlike a bowl of cereal that leaving you with a burning hungry stomach in less than an hour. I’ve had great success with this breakfast; it is low cost, quick and a nice easy habit to get into.

Mid-Morning Snack
Sometimes I’m so busy I miss this one, but it is always quick and easy when I do need it. Keeping a stash of energy bars in my purse, coat, desk, and car is the best solution here. If you are feeling hungry at all, have one. Otherwise, you will over eat at lunch.

Lunch
Again, keep it small. Instead of a whole sandwich eat half. It is a great money and calorie saver by finding someone in the office or home to split meals. If you’re by yourself, cut it in half and save it for the next day.

Late Afternoon Snack
This one is key to keeping your eating under control for dinner, parties and any other evening festivities. Eat a satisfying snack of crackers and cheese or chips and guacamole or some other type of healthy snack.

Dinner
Eat a dinner meal comprised of a protein, veggie and salad. Notice the lack of the carbs? You just had carbs in your snack earlier and will not crave them during this meal. You will find combining the ‘Later Afternoon Snack’ and small smart dinner will have you full in no time.

Adding a modest aerobic activities and modifying your eating habits are ways to accomplish to beat the holiday weight gain season.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Posted in Weight Loss | 1 Comment

Great Treadmill Workouts for Weight Loss

Incorporating treadmill workouts into your weight loss program can be the workout that finally makes a difference.

The physicians and staff at the Medical College of Wisconsin found in a study comparing different exercise machines that the treadmill is the best indoor exercise machine for burning calories and losing weight. The study couldn’t entirely explain why treadmill workouts burned more energy than the other workouts at the three exercise intensities tested. According to Martin D. Hoffman at the Sports Performance and Technology Laboratory, one factor, is that running involves many large muscles, from shoulder to toe, working through a wide range of motion. In contrast, rowing doesn’t involve the large leg muscles, and a stationary bicycle does little from the waist up. The great thing about treadmills is the skills you need to use it are very low for walking, jogging or running.1 And in situations where walking is difficult, the best treadmill for weight loss is one from AlterG that enables mobility by decreasing pain and making walking easier.

Treadmill Interval Workouts

Aerobic Interval Training

Aerobic interval workouts on the treadmill are designed to progress a beginner to the next level of weight loss. This workout is a great starting point for those not capable of performing a 20 continuous cardio workout. This level of interval training is alternating stints of low intensity aerobic exercise with a short breaks following. For example, perform 5 minutes of low intensity aerobic activity prior to taking a short break, followed by another 5 minutes of low intensity aerobic training, until you accumulated 20-30 minutes of activity. Over the first couple weeks of training, you should try to increase the time of each aerobic interval session while decreasing the rest interval. The advantage of the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is that it helps those that are too deconditioned to even complete short stints of exercise.  By unweighting users, the AlterG can allow for activity by making walking easier and safer.

 

High Intensity Interval Workout

A word of caution first regarding high intensity interval training, it is not for beginners. There is a much higher incidence of injuries due to sprinting and the high acid levels in the muscles. If you’ve been running and are ready to step it up a notch or have accomplished aerobic interval training (mentioned above) then interval training leads to greater fat loss. Even though you burn less calories during the activity, you continue to burn calories due to EPOC, excess post exercise oxygen consumption. An example workout would be to sprint for one minute and then walk or jog for two minutes following this pattern for 10 to 15 sets. This interval would be considered a 1:2 work to rest ratio interval workout and would take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. To avoid injuries, it is recommended to perform sprinting interval training at zero percent incline. High intensity intervals for endurance athletes should limit this type of workout to two times per week.  With the AlterG, athletes can decrease joint impact forces, possibly protecting them from injury, when performing these high intensity interval workouts.

Fat Burning Treadmill Workout

Exercising at a constant pace or sustaining the intensity for the duration of the workout is highly effective for weight loss on a treadmill, particularly for novices. The technical definition of steady state training is when heart rate and oxygen consumption stay the same at a constant rate of work. The best way to accomplish this is to exercise at a low intensity for a prolonged period that uses fat resources as opposed to available carbohydrates in your system. To benefit from steady state training you need to increase your workout time at a pace of 60% of your max heart rate which is typically 220 minus your age. Monitor you heart rate to keep the same intensity. You should incorporate this type of workout 3 – 5 times per week or rotate it with some of the other workouts in this article. On the Anti-Gravity Treadmill, the user can adjust not only speed and incline, but also body weight, to modify the workload and maintain their target HR.

The “Random” Setting Workout

Checkout the setting on your favorite treadmill and you will most likely see a setting call “Random”. This setting puts you though a random course of inclines and speeds. This program works so effectively because it creates an element of surprise during the workout. It creates muscle just like an outdoor trail run or jog would do. Muscle confusion is a training principle that utilizes constantly changing movements so that the body has a difficult time adapting, thereby working harder and responding with more energy expenditure or calories burned. Do this workout for 30 to 45 minutes. Incorporating this type a workout is a nice change and is rewarding when you finish. The added parameter of % body weight in the AlterG creates even more  opportunities for users to “surprise” their body and contribute to muscle confusion.

Hill Climbing Treadmill Workout

Hill climbing workouts are great for building muscle to trim fat on your legs and glutes. Again take a look at your control panel for your favorite treadmill and you will see the “Incline” up and down arrows. The biggest bang for your workout dollar occurs at inclines above 10 percent. According to FreeMotion Fitness, researcher Dr. Matthew Rhea, director of human movement at A.T. Still University, determined the following:

  • Walking at 3 mph with a 12% incline yielded the same heart rate as running at 6 mph on a flat surface.
  • At an incline of 15% incline, muscle activation in the legs exceeded 75 percent of maximal isometric contraction.
  • At zero percent incline only 20% of muscle tissue was activated.
  • At 2 mph and 16% incline, over six calories per minute from fat were burned.
  • Compare this to less than two calories per minute from fat used at 6 mph and 0% incline.

For example, set the incline to 10% grade and walk or run at an intensity level of 80% of maximum heart rate, 220 minus your age. You can maintain steady state through the hills or incorporate intervals of lower inclines with higher inclines. Do the hill climbing workouts for 30 to 45 minutes. Adding this type of treadmill workout for weight loss is effective at once per week. On the AlterG you may have to adjust your speed and incline to reach you target HR if you are taking advantage of the unweighting option. But the big upside of being able to take load off of your joints is less aches and pain, for more results in your weight loss program.

Treadmill Workout Tips

To avoid injuries warm up five minutes before each training session and cool down five minutes after each session. Stretching 10 minutes into the workout can make tight muscles relax if you are feeling overly tight. Stretch all major muscles after your cool down should never be skipped. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. When you are first starting out keep a journal to track your progress including duration, calories burned and type of workout. You will be surprised with results and it is rewarding to have it on paper and motivating. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the workout. Combining your new training program with a healthy diet of lean protein and veggies will give you the quickest results and you will feel great. Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your physician.

1 Hoffman, Zeni, Clifford – http://www.scribd.com/doc/52797323/1424-full

Posted in Exercise, Weight Loss | 2 Comments

What is Overuse Syndrome?

Overuse syndrome is a disorder where a certain part of the body is damaged by repeatedly overusing it or subjecting it to too much stress.

The strain that causes overuse syndrome occurs when a body part is called on to work harder, stretch farther, impact more directly, or otherwise function at a greater level then it is capable of handling. The affecting impact may be insignificant, but when it occurs repeatedly the constant straining can cause damage. The term overuse syndrome identifies a large group of conditions that result from using the body in a repetitive way, causing injury from the amount of cumulative stress.

These conditions are often focused on a joint and usually affect the muscle, bone, tendon or bursa of the joint. However other anatomical features and areas can be stressed and their response to that strain can be an injury.

Some common examples of overuse syndromes are:

  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Patellofemoral Pain
  • IT Band Syndrome
  • Plantar Fasciitis

Repetitive Stress Injury

Repetitive stress injuries are a type of overuse syndrome that affects bones, muscles, tendons, nerves and other structures of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. It develops when small injuries occur repeatedly from repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression (impact on hard surfaces), or sustained or awkward positions. It is also known as Repetitive Strain Injuries or Disorders, Repetitive Stress Disorders, Cumulative Trauma Disorders, Overuse Syndromes, Repetitive Motion Injuries, Disorders or Musculoskeletal Disorders.

Hip overuse injuries such as tendinitis and bursitis occur commonly in individuals who actively participate in running, cycling, and cutting sports such as soccer, football, hockey, etc. These injuries can occur after an acute injury, such as an adductor strain from soccer, or present as a chronic pain, such as a hamstring tendinopathy from repetitive activities such as running. Training errors, biomechanical issues, and sudden increases in activity levels are also risk factors. In the adolescent age group, traction injuries such as avulsion fracture and apophysitis can occur and cause difficulties with training and performance.

The investigation into the cause and treatment of hip and other overuse injuries can often be frustrating for clinicians and patients alike, but with the unweighting conditioning equipment from AlterG, athletes and novices alike can train without the added risk of overload and overuse injuries often encountered in many sports. The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill allows the user to train longer, run faster, gain additional strength, and enhance cardiovascular performance while minimizing impact and stress on their joints.

  • Strengthens and improves coordination of muscles, which in turn protects surrounding joints.
  • Promotes the full range of motion while minimizing stress during athletic conditioning.

The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill® creates a lifting force using Differential Air Pressure (DAP) Technology. The athlete wears neoprene shorts and zips into a pressurized, airtight enclosure which calibrates to their exact body weight. The intuitive control panel allows the athlete to change his/her weight, reducing it by as much as 80% in precise 1% increments.

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The What, Why and How of Overspeed Training

What is Overspeed Training?

Overspeed training is an effective method to recruit new muscle tissue to enhance performance when an athlete accelerates their body, or parts of their body, at speeds greater than regular competitive speeds. An overspeed training session typically has the athlete performing at a rate of 8% to 13% faster than the athlete’s fastest speed. As the athlete is training at the higher speed new muscle motor units are engage within the same muscle tissue, building and developing speed and agility.  Great overspeed training is now available to the general public, not just professional teams through revolutionary technology available to you at many of your local physical therapy locations.  This is accomplished with the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmills that use differential air pressure to reduce the athlete’s body weight down to as low as 20%.

Why is Overspeed Training So Valuable?

Overspeed training can be very effective at extending the range of motion and engaging muscle tissue that typically are not triggered. Without the right equipment, training at these high intensities can cause injuries because:

  • Balance needs to be supported
  • Proper running mechanics should not suffer at higher speeds
  • Ground reaction forces should be minimized to decrease impact and stress on joints

There are several devices available on the market for towing, such as rubber bands and pulleys. But only the AlterG can allow you to safely load the muscles and increase speed and agility to attain a higher level of performance.

“I think it’s the best piece of equipment made for running in the last 30 years, the most revolutionary piece of equipment, without a doubt!”

Alberto Salazar
Director of Nike Oregon Project
American Running Legend

How is Overspeed Training on the AlterG Treadmill Effective?

Alter-G’s Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a highly effective athletic conditioning tool for both recreational and competitive athletes by allowing the user to train longer, run faster, gain additional strength, and enhance cardiovascular performance while minimizing impact and stress on their joints.

  • Strengthens and improves coordination of muscles, which in turn protects surrounding joints.
  • Promotes the full range of motion while minimizing stress during athletic conditioning.

The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill® creates a lifting force using Differential Air Pressure (DAP) Technology. The athlete wears neoprene shorts and zips into a pressurized, airtight enclosure which calibrates to their exact body weight. The intuitive control panel allows the athlete to change his/her weight, reducing it by as much as 80% in precise 1% increments.

Posted in Athletic Training | 4 Comments

Benefits of Barefoot Running

A recent study at Indiana University discussed the benefits of barefoot running and its capacity to decrease impact force injuries with proper technique. For some this may include a complete change in running mechanics that previously included landing on your heels or growing up running in standard athletic shoes.

Stuart Warden, director of research at the Department of Physical Therapy at Indianapolis University advocates runners suffering from repetitive running-related injuries with no results from rehabilitation consider barefoot running as an option. Athletic shoes these days are made with a big cushion under the heel and arch support that make our feet weaker and can increase impact force injuries.

When switching from shoes to running barefoot though, there is more to do than just throwing away the sneakers. A main consideration is how a runner’s feet land on the ground. Athletic shoes, with a big cushion under the heel, encourage the runner to strike the ground with heels first. The foot has so much support in these shoes that the muscles don’t need to work as much as they would otherwise and grow weaker. If you transition to barefoot running slowly and run correctly, you could decrease the risk of injury over the long term. Running shoes also place the foot in a down position that makes it difficult to comfortably land on the front part of the foot. Two key factors to get the benefits of running barefoot are:

  1. Correct running technique where the foot fall lands on the front of the foot
  2. Slowly building muscle strength in and around the foot.

With improper barefoot running technique, the risk of injury could increase. Barefoot running is painful when landing on heels. In shoes or barefoot, the heel striking the ground first causes the impact force damage that is conveyed right up through the foot and into the body. The predominant theory is that the impact force contributes to stress fractures and other injuries associated with running. By decreasing those impact forces, the risk of injury is reduced. When barefoot runner’s feet land on the front or middle of the foot and the heel is lowered to the ground, the impact force is less and the risk of potential injury is lower.

When you are considering moving to barefoot running you should see your physical therapist first. Your therapist can help you slowly correct bad form and increase foot strength to adopt this new technique. Many physical therapists have gait training treadmills that can unweight you while you are correcting any issues and getting used to the barefoot running mechanics. See your physical therapist and see if barefoot running is a good option for you!

Posted in Athletics | 1 Comment

Benefits of Exercise for Seniors with Mobility Issues from Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is an incurable, degenerative neurological condition that causes mobility issues due to excessive tremors, muscle stiffness, and impaired balance. Research shows that a regular exercise program can improve mobility and improve a patient’s quality of life if they suffer from Parkinson’s. This article discusses an exercise program for Parkinson’s patients, but as always you should consult with your physician, physical therapist, or healthcare professional before developing your own exercise regimen if you have specific medical considerations.

Benefits of Regular Exercise for Seniors with Parkinson’s

The following is a list of the benefits of an exercise program for seniors with Parkinson’s disease:

  • Inhibition of joint malformation
  • Enhanced coordination and balance
  • Better posture
  • Increased cardiovascular fitness
  • Enhanced joint mobility
  • Improved muscle strength and flexibility
  • Less muscle cramping
  • Decreased stress levels
  • Better control over gross motor skills, like walking
  • Increased confidence in carrying out daily activities.

It has been shown that Parkinson’s disease affects approximately 1 million people in the US and Canada. Parkinson’s occasionally affects younger people, but typically seniors in their late 50s or early 60s begin to see symptoms indicative of the disease. The culprit behind Parkinson’s disease is a problem with the brain’s ability to produce dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that passes information between the brain cells for a variety of actions including muscle motor control. So in a Parkinson’s patient, you see physical symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness, impaired gait, and slow ambulation as a result of the loss of this neurotransmitter. Cognitive non-motor muscle symptoms also exist like sleep disorders, apathy, and depression.

A study1 performed at the University of Maryland School of Medicine revealed that low-intensity exercise done for 50 minutes three times a week was the most beneficial at improving Parkinson’s patients’ mobility issues. Since difficulty with walking is the major cause of disability in Parkinson’s disease, these results showed that exercise in people with Parkinson’s disease could make a difference. Although not proven, exercise may postpone the symptoms and help retain independence.

So you are probably wondering, what exactly could Parkinson’s patients do that is considered a form of “low-intensity exercise”? Walking is typically the best exercise option, since it is most functional and it’s an area that most Parkinson’s patients struggle with. Many Parkinson’s patients can walk unassisted, but for those that cannot walk unassisted, there are rehabilitation treadmills that have the ability unweight and stabilize the body for easier and safer ambulation. This combined with a stretching and strength training program could produce results in improved mobility and quality of life for these patients.

To learn more about the revolutionary unweighting technology that has help so many Parkinson’s patients, please check out AlterG’s Anti-Gravity Treadmills.

1. Lisa Shulman, MD – University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center – “Research1 has shown that Parkinson’s patients who incorporated a low-intensity, longer duration exercise (walking on a treadmill at a comfortable speed) improved their walking more than patients who walked for less time but at an increased speed and incline, a high-intensity exercise. They also found benefits from stretching and resistance exercises in the study.”

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