We got our first close look at the AlterG antigravity treadmill at a health expo in San Francisco earlier this year, and at the time, the price was floating up there somewhere near the space station.
But we've good news for those who like the idea of running like an astronaut: Fremont, Calif.-based AlterG on Monday plans to announce a more affordable model, the AlterG M300. The two treadmills in the M300 series deliver the same antigravity technology as AlterG's pricey $75,000 P200 series, but at a third of the cost--$34,900 to $36,900.
Yes, we know that hardly puts the AlterG in the range of the Total Gym, but it does move the device beyond the realm of the sports elite into a bracket accessible to more gyms and physical therapy clinics.
Medical institutions, college athletic programs, and sports teams around the country (including the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Cowboys, and Arizona Diamondbacks) already use the AlterG, but wider distribution could prove beneficial for Parkinson's patients, stroke survivors, and others reporting progress as a result of the technology.
AlterG's antigravity technology was originally developed at NASA and tested at Nike's Oregon Research Project by America's top distance runners.
The treadmill works by pumping air into an enclosure that surrounds users from the waist down. They zip themselves in, and an increase in air pressure lifts them so they can run at a fraction of their actual weight (pressing the up/down arrows on the control panel decreases body weight at increments of 1 percent, as much as 80 percent).
The reduction lowers the impact on joints and muscles to improve training and performance or help provide a smooth recovery from injury or surgery. Speed and incline are adjustable as with any treadmill.
"Removing the physical burden of weight bearing has remarkable results," said Bryan Nadeau of AlterG customer Muir Orthopedic Specialists, located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Paty Shives, 46, is one patient who has seen such results.… Read more