Weightless exercise the newest frontier
February 19, 2013
From moon mission to Mars and back to Planet Earth, the S-G Center has a new way of offering weightless therapy and training. Whether you are looking to rebuild muscle strength after a sports injury, fixing chronic pain issues through training or even fighting obesity without straining joints, the Alter G Antigravity Treadmill system, a treadmill that creates a weightless effect, is offered through the newest Park City fitness center.
Those looking to heal faster, put less strain on joints or maintain muscle strength while working out, the center uses machines specially designed to make clients as weightless as if they were walking on the surface of the moon.
After years of working in sports medicine, from time spent working with the Norwegian Olympic Committee to today with the U.S. Ski Team, Dr. Jim Stray-Gundersen ventured into his first small business in 2009, officially opening the S-G Center last year. In October the center has already helped athletes and baby boomers alike, those working on post-operative recovery and chronic pain, weight loss and increased mobility.
"This is a tool that helps lots of people with lots of things," Stray said. " a unique system. To this point, it has been underutilized. This center is all about utilizing these tools correctly so that anyone who could possibly benefit from Alter G will be able to."
"Athletes, both former and current, those struggling with obesity, elderly, and the rest of us can exercise in a way that is better for us," he added.
using a specially designed system a treadmill originally patented with NASA-based technology to help train astronauts the equipment lightens the burden for training and trauma recovery using an air pump system that inflates. Stray has worked with hip-replacements and torn ACLs, weight loss and maintaining stamina and muscle strength.
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As air is pumped into a special suit that encloses the hips and legs, the machine decreases the amount of body mass while running. While comparable to exercising in water, the Alter G equipment offers more flexibility and control than a typical swimming pool, allowing trainers to determine how much body weight, at what incline and through what program people will need to train.
"Water is a kind of all-or-nothing way to do it," he said, "either all or nothing."
"If someone has bad knees from playing football for years or bad ankles from basketball, they can get on this machine and exercise pain-free where they may not be able to otherwise," he added. "It is much easier on the joints, and helps those joints get into as good a shape as possible."
The Alter G equipment is intended to return athletes to functional activities such as walking and running sooner, normalize gait mechanics while protecting tissue and improve aerobic conditioning without the risk of stress-related injuries. Stray has developed several programs for different goals, including personalized training with the Alter G treadmills.
"One patient, an active Park City community member and alpine ski racer in the past, she has had lots of back and hip problems over the years," Stray said. "As long as I have known her, she has had some kind of problem with pain that has prevented her from being able to ski in the way she used to."
" Her muscles had deteriorated. We were able to get her on the machine, exercise pain free, and that is when the benefits are really obvious. Your body is training in the right way."
Incoming clients would go through a consultation process, Stray said, where goals are outlined and a number of weeks using the equipment would be outlined. With the process in place, regular appointments could be set up where people could use the treadmills under Stray’s supervision.
"We started out in my garage, a real American story," Stray said, "but I believe in the idea since we started, we have grown the business to what it is now. We are getting busier, but we still want to get the word out, to let people know what we do. We need to spread the word."
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