When most people think of anti-gravity they usually think of science-fiction stories or futuristic inventions. The anti-gravity powers that these treadmills use is decidedly less mind-boggling than a flying car, but these treadmills actually have a great capacity to help runners and other patients who are using physical therapy to recover from injury or degeneration.
Since gravity is the downward force that acts universally on all bodies. While the anti-gravity concepts that fill the world of sci-fi usually involve powers that eliminate gravity, anti-gravity treadmills are simple contraptions that reduce the effects of gravity by holding or supporting an individual above the running track.
An online search for anti-gravity treadmills will bring up many results that are closely related to a treadmill called the Alter-G treadmill. These treadmills use an inflatable cushion to life the runner and support a portion of their weight while they run on the treadmill.
The idea behind anti-gravity treadmills is to provide a runner with the aerobic and muscle training benefits that running offers without subjecting them to the damaging stress that running can cause. Injured runners as well as runners that are under intense training can benefit from running on a treadmill with only a fraction of their weight.
The newest generation of anti-gravity treadmills is a great improvement on the older models such as the Alter-G. These new treadmills are much simpler than the old models and they also offer a more streamline look as well as ease of use.
Old anti-gravity treadmills basically had the lower half of the runner’s body in an inflated plastic bubble that attached to a harness at the waist. These treadmills are designed to calculate the runner’s weight and then inflate or deflate the bubble which supports the runner to decrease or increase the amount of weight that the runner is forced to carry on his or her own feet.
This treadmill design works well and is especially useful for runners who are physically unable to support their full body weight during a run, but the treadmills are a rather unwieldy mechanism that some critics have described as an inflatable fish-bowl. The newest design of anti-gravity treadmills use a simpler three point harness to accomplish support the runner’s body weight while the runner enjoys their “run on air.”
At the heart of the new anti-gravity design is a material called, desmo-tentro. This fabric is inherently stretchy and flexibly, but when an electric current is passed through it loses these qualities by degree. This property allows users to control the resistance of the desmo-tentro bands and adjust the amount of anti-gravity aid that the treadmills provide.