Patients of all ages looking to improve their posture may benefit from exercise. In extreme cases, where the spine is severely curved, there traditionally were few options for effective treatment. If a patient has a condition that is adversely impacting their posture, they may begin to feel frustration or embarrassment. Continue reading “Posture-Improving Exercises for Physical Therapy Patients”
We get this question a lot: how do I prepare for my session on the AlterG Anti-Gravity™ Treadmill? What should I wear? What do I need to bring along?
While there are some special considerations, working out on an Anti-Gravity Treadmill isn’t terribly different from any other physical therapy session. Still, we decided to poll our team members and resident AlterG experts to bring you our top five tips to make the most of your experience on the Anti-Gravity Treadmill.
1. Wear fitted shorts, nothing baggy or loose
To make the magic of precision unweighting happen, you’ll have to wear a special pair of shorts. Our special neoprene shorts are a lot like common compression shorts, except they have a go-around zipper that zips you in the machine and creates an airtight environment around the lower body.
To make sure you’re as comfortable as possible, we recommend that you wear fitted clothing under the AlterG shorts. We recommend spandex shorts—stay away from pants, baggy basketball shorts, and workout skirts. This way, you can take the neoprene shorts on and off easily and remain comfortable throughout the session.
2. Footwear is totally up to you
While you might have to wear special shorts on the Anti-Gravity Treadmill, your choice of shoes is totally up to you. What would you wear running on any other treadmill? Or outside? We recommend a good pair of running or cross-training shoes, but you have options. You can even go barefoot if that’s your preference (though it’s not something we typically recommend.)
3. Remember that you’ll be zipped in
Once you’re all suited up and zipped into the treadmill, you won’t want to have to get in and out. So, here are a few tips:
- Hydrate and eat lightly before your session
- Go to the bathroom before your session
- Bring headphones, your phone, a water bottle, and a sweat towel and keep them within arm’s reach during your session
4. You’re going to break a sweat
Workout temperature is one of the ways the Anti-Gravity Treadmill is different from other treadmills. Because you’re lower body is zipped into an airtight chamber, things tend to get a little sweaty during the session. As such, we recommend staying hydrated before and during your session. And wear two top layers (a tank top and a long sleeve workout shirt, for example) so that you can peel one off should you need to.
5. Be sure to bring your favorite tech
Far be it from us to disrupt your usual workout routine! Feel free to bring along your own fitness or heart rate monitor, which you can wear during your session. Headphones and music are a must. The good news is that the Anti-Gravity Treadmill now includes handy holsters for things like phones and water bottles.
Easy peasy, right? Follow these five expert tips and your session on the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill will be a breeze. Oh, and if you’re looking to book a session on the Anti-Gravity Treadmill for your own physical therapy needs, click here to find an AlterG near you.
One of our favorite things about running is that almost anyone can do it. All you need is a little motivation, a pair of shoes (optional!), and some earth beneath your feet. This kind of simplicity is what gives running its global appeal. Moreover, affirming this passion for running is the idea behind Global Running Day 2019. Continue reading “Global Running Day 2019 – All You Need To Know”
Despite the immense challenges that cancer represents to both patients and medical professionals, it’s comforting to know that cancer research continues to make great strides. Naturally, our ears perked up when a new study from the the Journal of Clinical Oncology hit our inboxes. The study links exercise to improved cardiorespiratory fitness in adult patients suffering from cancer.
Though this might seem like a self-evident revelation (we already know, for instance, that sedentary lifestyles can increase the risk of diseases like cancer), there is more here than meets the eye. As Medpage points out in their analysis of the study, “up to 80% [of patients with adult onset cancer] have significant impairment in peak oxygen consumption.”
Indeed, diminished cardiovascular function is common among cancer patients. And according to the American Cancer Society, cancer-related fatigue is also quite common, often due in part to the decline in heart health that typically accompanies many types of cancer.
It’s a problem that tends to compound upon itself. More challenging still is that fact that, even though cancer patients find it difficult to exercise due to cancer-related fatigue, this new research suggests that exercise is key to improving heart health in cancer patients.
So where does that leave us?
To begin with, it is important for cancer patients to find the right environment to enable safe and productive exercise. This includes finding the right tools to support healthy cardiovascular exercise, of which there are a number of encouraging examples.
In a pilot study documented in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, for example, low-impact cardiovascular exercise on the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ was shown to improve cardiovascular conditioning and health for breast cancer survivors. In its recommendations for exercise as part of cancer treatment, Harvard Health recommends “referral to an accredited exercise physiologist and/or physical therapist.”
Though specific exercise recommendations will vary from patient to patient, this new study from Journal of Oncology is significant for a number of reasons. For medical professionals, the study supports the role of exercise in improving cardiovascular health for cancer patients. For those cancer patients suffering from cardiovascular decline, the study offers a potential path to regaining some function, quality of life, and overall health.
And for the rest of the world, this new study indicates that finding links between cardiovascular fitness in cancer patients and exercise remains a priority for cancer researchers across the country.
That is welcome news.
For so many collegiate and professional athletes, learning and development begins during the teenage years. Start ‘em young, as the saying goes. And for good reason: training teenage athletes provides an opportunity to not only get them moving, but to help them learn the correct movements. This can put them ahead of the game (literally) as they become more competitive in college and beyond.
Training is Learning
Yet, training teenage athletes is about more than just learning how to play a sport competitively. It’s about learning the fundamental forms that athletes will use over and over again throughout the rest of their lives, no matter which sport they decide to play.
From bodyweight exercises, like push-ups, free squats, and lunges, to the fundamentals of walking, running, and lateral motion, establishing the correct fundamentals can help athletes perform at a higher level. More importantly, it can help athletes avoid injury that might result from bad technique. Here’s a few common approaches:
- Repetition and drills
- Half- to three-quarter-speed simulations
- Recording and reviewing video with a coach or trainer
Gait Analysis and Training with AlterG
More often than not, teenage athletes tend to be unfamiliar with moving under the strain of added weight and resistance. When faced with these situations, they will often forget fundamentals, hence the tendency to develop bad habits. They might know how to sprint at 100% effort, for example, but they don’t necessarily know how to control their bodies while sprinting at 100% effort. Add in the pressure of official competition, and the challenge becomes even greater.
Learning proper movement and correcting anomalies is one of the common use cases of the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill™. Many physical therapy clinics throughout the United States, as well as collegiate and professional sports teams, leverage our treadmills to train teenage athletes in a controlled environment that helps limit injury risk.
More specifically, Stride Smart Gait Assessment Technology can be used by certified physical therapists to not only help monitor and identify gait abnormalities, but to show the athlete incorrect movements in real-time. What a difference it makes for an athlete to actually see the improvements they need make. It makes self-correcting that much easier. And it can help avoid the development of bad habits.
Sprint faster. Be more explosive off the line. Increase agility and quickness. These common goals cannot be achieved without the development of fast-twitch muscles. What are fast-twitch muscles, you ask? The difference between fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles has a lot to do with the intensity of movement sustained over time.
If a person were to hold an abdominal plank for a two minutes, for example, or do a wall sit for five minutes, they would be developing and using (mostly) slow-twitch muscles. When it comes to slow-twitch, think endurance.
Fast-twitch muscle fibers, on the other hand, are activated by high intensity movements sustained in short bursts. Examples include sprints, burpees, and quick lateral movements. Many activities, such as boxing and basketball, incorporate both slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers.
How to Build Fast-Twitch Muscle
In many ways, building fast-twitch muscles is about diversifying your workouts. The idea is to introduce activities that force the body to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers it might not otherwise use. Here are three tips to help you do just that:
- Expand your strength training – Resistance training is an important cornerstone of most fitness regimens. Incorporate more fast-twitch movements by performing reps at a faster rate, or working in exercises like power clean and snatch.
- Sprints and agility drills – Straight sprints can be quite boring. Try adding changes in motion to your sprint routine, such as there-backs or three-point agility drills. Sprint up and down a flight of stairs. Incorporate resistance bands or perform explosive movements underwater. You can also recruit new muscle fibers by borrowing from sports you don’t even play, but that rely on good agility, such as football, soccer, and gymnastics.
- Work in some plyometrics – Plyometrics are all about quick, powerful expansions and contractions of a given muscle or muscle group. The burpee is a classic (and timeless!) example. You might also consider explosive bodyweight exercises such as jump squats, split-squat lunges, or plyo push-up. Military training and crossfit programs are famous for incorporating plyometric exercises, so start there if you need ideas.
Pushing the Boundaries Safely
You’ll notice that building fast-twitch muscle fibers often requires pushing your body beyond the limits you are used to. While beneficial in many ways, this also introduces increased injury risk.
Athletes of the highest levels often perform these exercises in controlled environments, or under the supervision of certified professionals. Tools like the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ can be used, for example, to limit injury risk and body-weight impact during highly strenuous sprinting exercises.
Regardless of how you choose to build fast-twitch muscles, remember that no workout regimen is exclusive of your diet and sleep regimen. Your ability to perform these workouts without injury, as well as to recover properly after taxing workouts, is just as important to building fast-twitch muscle fibers as the exercises themselves.
What makes the difference between a three-week recovery time and a six-week recovery time? Between a highly effective rehab cycle, and a less than optimal one? The answer largely depends on the extent to which physical therapists and patients can collaborate. This is true during injury rehabilitation, advanced athletic training, or stroke recovery.
In each of these therapy scenarios, gait assessment plays a central role in the pace and progress of rehab. Fortunately, there are many tools today that help automate certain aspects of gait assessment and facilitate patient/therapist collaboration. In our last post, we took a closer look at Stride Smart, our integrated gait assessment technology.
To deliver the best patient care, clinicians need to stay up to date with the technology revolutionizing physical therapy. In our previous post, we took a look at Differential Air Pressure (DAP), the patented technology on which the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ is based. Continue reading “A Closer Look at Gait Assessment with AlterG Stride Smart Technology”
Breakthroughs in technology are taking modern physical therapy to new heights. As we learned in the previous post in this series, physical therapy technology has come a long way, with new advancements in the ways physical therapists assess, monitor, and rehabilitate patients. Continue reading “What is Differential Air Pressure?”
Since our humble beginnings in 2005, AlterG® has come a long way. So too has the evolution of physical therapy, often progressing at a dizzying pace. In keeping with our commitment to being a pioneer in advanced rehabilitation technology, we’ve continued to add to and improve upon our suite of tools. Continue reading “The Evolution of AlterG Technology and What it Means to You”