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Image: AlterG

For some folks, running is a way of life. For others, it's a chore, or an unpleasant memory from high school gym class. But for some of us, running is impossible, due to injuries, disabilities, or other physical challenges. Or, at least, it was impossible. Enter the AlterG Treadmill, which allows anyone to offset up to 100% of your body weight to make running and walking safe and effective for any body.

At downtown Portland's exercise-focused Optimal Results Physical Therapy, Kyle Green works with patients with a wide range of sports injuries, genetic joint conditions, Parkinson's disease, and obesity—and makes walking and running comfortable and fun for every one, thanks to the AlterG. He was even able to teach a below-knee amputee how to walk safely in just three sessions.

Here's how it works: you step into a pair of neoprene shorts with a ring of zippered fabric around the waist, which zips into a sealed chamber below the waist. The machine calibrates to your body weight and uses upward air pressure to offset a certain percentage of your body weight, which you can adjust as you walk or run just as you'd adjust your speed or incline. Using technology that was developed for use on a space station and once available only to pro athletes, the unweighing technology of the AlterG treadmill reduces the impact of running and walking, allowing patients to recover from injury, surgeries, or overtraining in a rehabilitation setting without sacrificing the cardiovascular benefits of training.

But it's not just for folks with limitations, explains Green. "We have athletes use it all the time that are uninjured. The Timbers used to come use it to train before they got one themselves, and we have triathletes and marathon runners use it as a recovery run or an extra long run. I also use it for weight loss—for those individuals who start getting achy joints after 10-15 minutes. It is great because it takes enough pressure off their joints and allows them to actually reach a fat burning zone for long periods without the risk of injury."

Interested in checking out the AlterG for yourself? You don't need to go through insurance for a physical therapist visit—you can call Optimal Results at 503-294-7463 and schedule a standalone session on the AlterG as you would any gym class or yoga studio visit. Happy running!

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