How Should I Prepare for My Session with AlterG?

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.

5 Surprising Ways Fitness Can Impact Your Life

Everyone knows fitness can boost your stamina, tone your body and lengthen your lifespan. There are other effects of it, both good and bad, however, that are often misunderstood. Here are the surprising ways regular exercise can impact your life.

1. Different sleep schedule
Fitness can either improve or worsen your sleep cycle; it all depends on when you exercise. A morning or afternoon workout is great for tiring out your muscles and forcing them to crave the restorative nature of sleep once bedtime comes around. An evening run, in comparison, can interrupt your circadian rhythm by raising your heart rate, blood pressure and internal temperature at an inopportune time. Bedtime is when your body begins to slow these systems down so exercise can confuse your brain into feeling awake. Try to keep your workouts at least three hours before bedtime so your body has enough time to wind back down for sleep.

2. Personal grooming
For better or worse, physical activity can affect your grooming habits. On the positive side, a high fitness level can help circulate nutrients in order to clear and brighten your skin. Extremely vigorous workouts and tight ponytails, however, can cause strain on hair follicles and even lead to hair loss. To avoid noticeable damage, make sure you’re not overworking your body every day of the week. Take a day or two between especially tough exercises to try some low impact workouts in order to encourage muscle and hair root recovery.

3. Hormonal changes
Ever heard of runner’s high? To those who don’t enjoy running, it may sound like a myth, but physical activity can actually make you happier. Exercise regulates hormone levels which can improve metabolism and lower stress levels. It also causes the body to release feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin, endorphins and dopamine to boost mood shortly after moderate exercise. Be sure to keep your exercises consistent, intense and different in order to keep your hormone balances healthy and boosted.

Keep in mind, though, that your body does need to rest occasionally. Overtraining can actually cause more fatigue and stress, throwing your hormonal balances off kilter. Listen to your body: if you start to feel too sore or too tired to exercise, take a day off.

4. Changes in intimacy
Regular exercise can improve intimate relations in more ways than one. Physical activity boosts blood flow and reduces stress which can improve stamina, performance and interest in the bedroom.

It’s important, however, to keep an eye out for overtraining again: it doesn’t just affect your stress levels. Overworking the body can lower testosterone levels and ultimately decrease libido in both men and women. If you experience this, you may be pushing your body too hard. Try including a rest day or two in your weekly schedule. If you have issues that continue despite changes to your workout routine, consider speaking with a doctor about prescriptions that can help boost female libido or treat erectile dysfunction.

5. Mental stamina
A fit body leads to a healthier mind. Regular physical activity increases blood flow to the brain improving mental processes and boosting overall brain function. While all workouts will have a positive effect on the brain, aerobic exercise has been found to have the most impact on mental acuity. Try to include exercises like running, cycling or swimming that get your heart rate up to around 150 bpm. It’s also helpful to listen to music or podcasts while working out for further mental stimulation. Consider fast-paced playlists or health-related podcasts, like Nike’s Trained to distract yourself from the monotony of exercise, improve your performance, and further work out your brain.

It’s important to be sure you understand the role working out plays in your life– both the good and the bad. The key is to strike a good balance between healthy workouts and strenuous exercise. Be sure to listen to your body and understand how your routine may be helping or hurting you so you can update your lifestyle accordingly.

Global Running Day 2019 – All You Need To Know

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”

How to Adapt Your Fitness Routine For the Later Years

We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep on saying it: regular exercise unlocks immense benefits for all age groups. For seniors, exercise is the ticket to a happier, healthier retirement. Benefits include:

  • Better sleep
  • Improved mental health
  • Weight maintenance or loss
  • Looking and feel younger

Yet with the passing years comes the need to adapt exercise routines. With each decade, the body changes, and what used to be easy-breezy is now more challenging. This doesn’t mean people can’t continue exercising as they age. It just means they need to refine their approach.

Go See the Physician
Regular readers of the AlterG blog will recognize this common refrain: when introducing exercise into one’s life, or drastically changing one’s routine, it’s important to talk to the doctor first. That goes for people of all ages.

This doesn’t have to be complicated, though: an annual physical evaluation with a primary care physician is the right time to evaluate one’s suitability for regular exercise and any additional precautions they need to take.

RELATED: 5 Workouts for People With Fall Risk

Start Simple and Progress Incrementally
Our age and physical condition are no match for the inner picture we have of ourselves (I’ll be 25 forever!). While relatable, attempting the same activities, with the same intensity, that we could earlier in life lead to injury.

Instead, set an objective to do one simple exercise, such as walking, toe touches, or stretching every day, or every other day, for two weeks. After two weeks, you’ll have developed the habit of exercise on which you can build toward a more advanced senior exercise routine.

RELATED: Train Seniors Using Unweighting

Establish Baseline Flexibility and Balance
For the first couple of weeks, make balance, core strength, and flexibility the areas of focus. This will help establish a baseline that will enable comfortable, safe, and effective exercise later on.

Modify Your Existing Routine
Don’t rule out a return to glory just yet! Many of the exercises and routines you used to do can be modified. Lifting weights, stretching, aerobics, yoga, Tai Chi—all of these can be done while sitting in a chair. Many seniors take to the pool for aerobic routines that are just as challenging, but not as hard on the body.

Work With a Physical Therapist
The question is, do seniors need a physical therapist? In some cases, physical disability, injury, fall risk, and other factors common among seniors necessitate work with a physical therapist. For seniors, working with a physical therapist can offer a number of advantages:

  • Guided exercises that limit fall risk
  • Identify and work on weaknesses or deficiencies
  • Rehabilitate and recover from injury
  • Go slow under the supervision of a professional

The supervision of a professional can be very beneficial. Physical therapists have tools and techniques at their disposal that are designed to help people get the most out of their workouts—regardless of age, condition, injury status—in sensible, safe increments.

LEARN MORE: Anti-Gravity Treadmill for Seniors

5 Creative Ways to Workout as a Family

Happy Mother’s Day! Having children changes everything, doesn’t it? As much as parents want to believe they’ll be able to live the same life after kids—oh, how we hold on tight to that belief—it all changes when that first padawan arrives.

One of the first things to go is the exercise routine. During the first couple of years of parenthood, who really has time to go for a jog or hit the gym when there are young children to take care of? Fair enough. Even though it might not be the same as it was, there are still ways to squeeze in exercise. It just takes a little bit of group mentality.

5 Creative Ways to Exercise as a Family
The trick is to thread exercise into your existing schedule—to sneak exercise into the family activities you already do with your family. And what better time to exercise as a family than Mother’s Day? (Okay, maybe start with these tips the day after Mother’s Day so mom can get her proper kicks.)

1. Go for a Walk
Walking is the new running! At least for parents, it is. Walking is great for papa bear, mama bear, the babies, even grandma and grandpa. Getting out and in the sunshine can not only provide exercise to people of all ages, but can also provide the psychological break that many parents often need. Make walks a game by singing, marching, and gamifying certain milestones (times around the block, steps, etc.).

2. Make Cleanup Time a Dance Party
It’s hard to convince kids to clean up. Heck, it’s hard to convince ourselves to cleanup—unless you make it fun. And what better calorie-burner is there than dancing? It’s fun, engaging, and it begs for your favorite soundtrack. Got vinyl around or a favorite playlist? Throw them on and set an example by dancing through the entire cleanup. Dancing is contagious, you’ll see. The kids will follow and you’ll all be burning calorie as you go.

3. Get Moving During Commercial Breaks
Let’s face it: most families spend a lot of time watching television together. Kids shows are educational, entertaining, and they help plug kids in so that parents can tune out a while (seriously, how many times have you seen Baby Shark and Frozen?). During breaks and commercials, get the kids up and moving by doing jumping jacks, running in place, or even burpees. If the kids are too young, do the exercises yourself. Eventually, they’ll come around (and maybe your spouse will, too).

4. Put the Children to Work
Admit it: when you found out you were having kids, part of you was excited to hand off chores and housework. Mowing the lawn. Raking leaves. Pulling weeds and cleaning gutters. A couple of hours spent on any of these chores is no small physical ask. You’ll be sweating and sore in no time. Get the kids involved and Sunday chores will quickly become the Sunday family workout.

5. Take the Dog for a Walk
Kids. Love. Dogs. Don’t we all? And if you have one in your family, you have an always-on, never-sleeping opportunity for exercise. When’s the last time your dog refused to go for a walk? Head out to the nearest park, prairie reserve, or beach and go for a long one. Get the kids involved or, if they’re old enough, charge them with handling dog walking all on their own. The Kennel Club recommends two fifteen-to-twenty-minute walks a day. That’s two opportunities to get up, get moving, and do something beneficial to the health of both canine and child members of the family.

Keep It Interesting, Keep Consistent
To exercise as a family, you need to get creative and you need to stay consistent. There are only so many hours in a day. But busy doesn’t have to mean sedentary. When you make exercise part of the fabric of the family, the kids will respond in kind. And an active lifestyle is one of the best examples parents can set.

6 Tips for Running in Your Fifties

Though it might feel like a steeper hill to climb, running in your fifties is definitely possible. Maintaining a regular running program doesn’t have to be a casualty of age! In fact, running can be quite a boon to your well-being as you age.

Yet, running in your fifties brings with it different considerations than, say, running in your twenties. Certain aspects of the program that you used to take for granted can now be the difference between a healthy routine and injury, chronic pain, and slow progress. Here are six tips to do it right:

1. Listen to Your Doctor
Start at the doctor’s office. The doctor will make recommendations about whether you are fit and healthy enough to run at all (and at what intensity). This information will help you design the right program for your age and fitness level.

2. Prioritize Recovery
Turning fifty doesn’t mean you can’t run anymore, but it might mean that recovery times might increase. At the age of fifty, perhaps more than ever in your past, recovery time will become terribly important. Make sure to leave enough time for sleep and take adequate rest days between runs. Work on proper diet and sleep to maximize recovery.

3. Tap into Flexibility, Stabilizers, and Balance
Running in and of itself asks a lot of our core strength, flexibility, and balance. Running in your fifties asks a bit more. Still, focusing on these areas can create a base that allows you to run longer and safer while limiting pain and injury.

4. Play the Long Game
As we age, it takes longer to make improvements and reach new heights in our running programs. It’s important to resist the temptation to overdo it, as injuries from overuse or overexertion also take longer to recover from in our fifties and beyond. The more in tune we are with our adjusted timelines, the longer we’ll be able to sustain a healthy program over time.

5. Consider Group Training
Running with other peers in your age group is a great way to calibrate your routine and stay within yourself. There are plenty of fifty-plus running groups in most cities. Take the leap and see how nice it is to run each week with people who share in and understand what it means to run in your fifties.

6. Say Goodbye to Younger You, Embrace the New You
Our final tip is all about outlook. Yes, it is true that we might lose some ability, conditioning, and capacity as we age. And it can be difficult to come to terms with what we feel like we’re capable of in our minds and what our bodies can actually do. Still, the sooner you embrace the “new you,” the quicker you’ll be able to adapt the right habits and approaches that make running in your fifties better than ever.

How to Increase Your Running Distance Safely

Establishing and maintaining a running program is always a challenge. Staying consistent, keeping things interesting, and pushing past the wall requires commitment. Adding more miles can be a whole other can of worms.

In the spirit of taking your program to the next level, here’s how to safely increase running distance while limiting your risk of injury and exhaustion.

Track Your Progress

Just as keeping a daily journal can help you keep a diet, so to can it help you improve your running program. We recommend setting a weekly mileage goal, then charting the miles you run every week. After you’ve hit your mark a few weeks in a row, review your logs to inform how many miles to add to your weekly total (and when).

Mix Up Distance and Running Routes

Whoever you talk to, boredom is the number one excuse for not running. Don’t let the tedium stunt your program! If you love running the same route every day, try reversing it every once in a while. Work in hills, mix up distances throughout the week. Assign one of your days for a “longer” run.

Load Up Before Your Rest Day

To that end, try planning your long run the day before a rest day. Knowing that you’ll have the next day to rest will give you the confidence to push it, both in terms of distance and pace.

Unlock the Power of Recovery Time

Speaking of rest days, your off days can be as important to adding distance than your “on” days. Rest days give your body time to recover and adapt. This means not only working rest days into your routine but making the most of that rest time by eating well and staying hydrated.

Finally, Listen to Your Body

Of all the ways to safely add distance to your running program, listening to your body is one of the most important. This doesn’t mean skipping run days because you don’t feel like it, no. Listening to your body means reading any indicators of overuse, exhaustion, and injury.

Because putting your body out of commission won’t do you any good when trying to add miles to your running program.

Learn how the Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ can help improve your running.

 

What’s the Difference Between Static and Dynamic Stretching?

Stretching is a lot like flossing. We know that it’s important and that we should be doing it. We know that it helps our bodies in the long run. Yet so many of us still skip this important activity altogether.

And just like skipping flossing, failing to properly stretch is a mistake. Done right, stretching helps us improve our range of motion, flexibility, and recovery time. For anyone serious about their fitness, stretching is non-negotiable, both before and after workouts. That goes for everything from weightlifting and gymnastics to basketball, volleyball, and rec league hockey.

Typically, a complete stretching program consists of both static and dynamic stretches. The question is, what’s the difference? And when is it best to do one or the other? Here’s a closer look at the difference between static and dynamic stretches, common applications, and some examples.

The Difference Between Static and Dynamic Stretching

The difference between static and dynamic stretching comes down to a simple thing: movement. A static stretch is, generally, any position you hold—often at the limit of a given joint’s range of motion—to increase flexibility. A lack of movement—hence the name static—is common to all of these stretches. No bouncing, changing position, or repetition of movement.

Applications of Static Stretching

  1. Flexibility
  2. Post-workout recovery
  3. Preventing bruising and soreness

3 Examples of Static Stretches

  • Standing hamstring foldover (touch your toes)
  • Seated groin and inner thigh stretch
  • Overhead triceps stretch

A dynamic stretch is any repetitive, more challenging motion aimed at loosening up muscles and joints. Usually, dynamic stretches are sports- or activity-based motions one repeats a number of times. If it feels challenging, it’s supposed to be. Watch professional athletes before a game or match and you’ll likely see them go through some form of dynamic stretching routine.

Applications of Dynamic Stretching

  1. Pre-workout warmup
  2. Endurance and conditioning training

3 Examples of Dynamic Stretches

  • High knees
  • Walking lunges
  • Lateral crossovers

Understanding the difference between static and dynamic stretching is the first step toward incorporating these important movements into your workouts.

If stretching remains on your list of need to do that more (ahem, right next to flossing), try this: select three to five dynamic stretches and perform them before your next workout. After your routine, perform three to five static stretches. Set a goal to apply this stretching routine to each workout for two weeks.

You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Workout Tips for When You’re Staying at a Hotel

If you tend to travel during the year, you know how disruptive a trip can be to a regular workout routine. Who has time to squeeze gym time into work trips and conferences? Vacations can make finding time to exercise even more challenging.

Who wants to do lunges when it’s time to party!?

Well, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. So we’ve put together our most practical and easy hotel workout tips. These will equip you with what you need to make the most out of your traveling gym—motel, hotel, or otherwise.

Tips for the Hotel Gym

Hotel gyms are not always the most exciting or well equipped. Use these tips to make the most out of whatever size gym room your hotel has to offer.

  • Come prepared – Bring along the basics, like a towel, water bottle, and mat so you can get more out of available flat space. If you find yourself in a windowless box in the basement of a Motel 6, music is your friend.
  • Get in some cardio – Sometimes, a treadmill or elliptical machine will be your only option. Most modern machines now include pre-programmed workouts, such as hill training or interval work. Mix it up and do something new and challenging so you don’t get bored.
  • Create stations with what you have – Create a circuit of workouts by moving from exercise to exercise. For example, you could do ten minutes on the treadmill, then a five-minute plank routine, before moving to weight lunges (if hand weights are available). Rinse and repeat three to five times, limiting rest time in between exercises.

 

  • Hit the pool – So what if everyone else is poolside? The pool is your friend! Try some pool calisthenics and dynamic movement routines, tread water for fifteen minutes, then do a few laps freestyle down and back. What better place to get your heart rate up than in the pool?

 

Tips for Working Out In Your Room

For those times when a workout room or pool isn’t available, here are some in-room workout tips:

 

  • Get going early – The best way to ensure you get your hotel workout done is to get it done first thing in the morning. This way, you don’t have to worry about fitting into you busy schedule later on.

 

 

  • Clear and prepare a space – It seems simple, but adequate space is a must. Move furniture around, turn the television off, put a mat down, and get some music going so you can focus on your workout.

 

  • Think burpees and bodyweight – You don’t need a lot of space to go through a challenging bodyweight routine. Get in a good warmup stretch, jumping jacks, and a quick ab routine. Then set the clock for ten to fifteen minutes and complete one hundred burpees before the time is up. There are a plenty of bodyweight workouts to choose from.

 

  • Try a yoga routine – All you need for a yoga routine is a mat and a little bit of space. Bring in some natural light if you can and try a thirty-minute yoga routine. Yoga can do wonders for your energy and balance, especially while traveling.

 

Finally, it’s important to remember that you probably won’t be able to recreate your workout routine completely. Put yourself in a maintenance mindset, where the workouts you do on your trip are to keep your baselines for when you do return home and get back into it full swing. Plan for the bare minimum in terms of time and equipment, come prepared, and these hotel workout tips should be more than you need to break a sweat no matter where you’re staying.

Why Your Body Needs Rest Days

There is a hero in us all that loves to “just push through.” Push through the pain. Push through the fatigue, soreness, and hunger. While there is nothing wrong with a strong work ethic, it can be a mistake to push on at the expense of much needed rest and recovery.  Among the many reasons why your body needs rest days, here are five that might give you pause the next time you want to skip a day off.

1. Avoid Overuse Injuries (and Overtraining Syndrome)

Working out too much can push your muscles, bones,  and ligaments, leading go overuse injuries. Think tennis elbow, tendonitis, sprains, and tears. It can also lead to overtraining syndrome, a common condition that can include dragging fatigue, sleep disruption, and mood swings (among other symptoms).

2. Restore Muscle Tissue

Have you ever gotten the feeling after a day or two off that you return that much stronger and more energized? During nearly any kind of training, inflammation and even small tears occur in muscle tissues. During rest, the healing and regeneration of these muscles is what allows us to build strength, endurance, and muscle mass.

3. Replenish, Refuel, Hydrate

Rest days are also an opportunity to replenish the things your body needs to recover. A diet rich in lean protein, fruits, and vegetables will provide some of the calories, vitamins, and nutrients lost during exercise. Of course, you should continue drinking ample water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Not only will diet and water intake help you recover, it will prepare you for tomorrow’s workout, too.

4. Get Your Mind Right

Time away from the physical challenge and psychological strain that accompanies exercise, workout regimens, and sporting activities can do wonders for the mind. A bit of mental rest can recenter your memory, focus, and motivation that might suffer if you burn yourself out. Take a full day off and feed the mind with positive stimulation.

Taking a day off when your body needs rest isn’t a sign of weakness, or quitting—it’s smart. The world’s top athletes and trainers swear by it (alongside proper nutrition and hydration). Just getting a bit more sleep every night can make a world of difference in you mood, energy level, and motivation.

How long? Allow one to two days between working out the same group of muscles. These rules vary depending on type of exercise and body type, so it’s always a good idea to check with your physician or physical therapist to confirm.

Either way, rest is essential to better performance. Put it all together and you’ll come back stronger than ever.