Moonwalking to a Healthy Weight

You’ve heard the eye-brow-raising statistics: 66 percent of Americans are overweight and almost 38 percent of all of us are obese. That rate is alarmingly higher than it was a generation ago, according to the annual report The State of Obesity.

If you’re overweight, you probably know it. But if you’re truly not sure why you don’t fit into your jeans from high school, consider that the World Health Organization (WHO) defines an overweight person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 and an obese person with a BMI of 30 or more. (BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his or her height: kg/m2.) Increased BMIs are related to numerous chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, cancers and musculoskeletal problems such as osteoarthritis.

It’s no secret that exercise and a healthy diet are proven to reduce body fat and improve overall health. But for many who are overweight or obese, just taking a walk can be difficult, painful and frustrating. So what can you do if you’ve packed on the pounds but find exercise unbearable due to your deconditioning and aches and pains?

First, gain clearance from your primary care physician to start a weight-reduction plan, and then select a physical therapist or exercise physiologist who can help you start moving at the right pace. (Consider making a dietitian a member of your team, too.)

A physical therapist will evaluate your condition and create a plan to start an exercise routine. Since many people who are obese also have osteoarthritis, a therapist will know how to manage the pain in the affected joints. Reducing a person’s weight during exercise with the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ is a great way to address osteoarthritis (OA) pain during walking.

Thanks to the AlterG’s precise unweighting technology, pain can be reduced or eliminated during and after exercise sessions. Gravity’s impact is reduced in the AlterG by selecting any weight between 20% and 100% of body weight, in 1% increments.

Studies have shown that overweight patients with knee osteoarthritis had significant improvement in their OA-related disability when they lost weight. The risk of OA dropped more than 50% for a woman of normal height for every 11 pounds lost (approximately 2 BMI units). In addition, a study of overweight individuals exercising on the AlterG showed that an average of 12.3% body weight support can significantly reduce knee OA pain and enable comfortable exercise. It has been shown that the AlterG contributes to high levels of exercise compliance because the machine allows you to “feel” your desired weight.

Those who exercise by “moonwalking” with AlterG receive the added benefit of total safety and comfort, allowing them to focus on getting the most out of their workout instead of worrying about falling or joint discomfort. Therapists can take clients through balance and agility tasks while they walk, such as ball throwing or single leg squats, which helps to reinforce strength, cardiovascular conditioning and balance.

While an exercise plan and progression goals are individualized for each patient, treatment with an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill in particular may result in:

  • Increased caloric expenditure to be demonstrated through weight loss
  • Increased exercise tolerance
  • Increased exercise confidence
  • Improved ability to perform activities of daily living
  • Decreased rating of perceived exertion at a given exercise intensity
  • Decreased pain during exercise
  • Decreased heart rate at a given exercise intensity
  • Improved mental health

Achieving a healthy weight is not easy, but it will help improve your health and possibly allow you to live a longer, more active life. An exercise plan that includes AlterG may help you reach your goals – and bring you closer to being able to put on and button those old high school jeans!

To start losing weight using the Anti-Gravity Treadmill, check out our Zip Code Locator to find an AlterG and therapist near you.