A special treadmill at the Sanford Fieldhouse is changing the game for athletes and those in physical therapy.
It’s called the Alter-G Anti-Gravity Treadmill, which uses NASA Technology to reduce gravity’s impact.
It was created by NASA for outerspace but it’s helping those here on Earth like Melissa Effling.
“Shattered my ankle, broke a notch into my tibia,” Effling said.
A boating accident left Effling in a boot and working with Sanford Physical Therapist Melissa Moyer.
“Almost feels like you’re in a walker, and so there’s no fear of falling, ect., so it can be used for many different purposes,” Moyer said.
Moyer has her suit up and get on this treadmill called Alter-G Anti-Gravity.
The idea behind the machine is it allows users to choose between 20 percent and 100 percent of their full body weight.
This is beneficial for those like Effling, who are recovering from injury.
“It gives me a better idea of what I can do at home, what I can tolerate, how much I should be putting on it, otherwise it’s pretty hard to know,” Effling said.
While the machine helps some learn to bear weight again, it is also used by top-athletes to peak performance.
“It can be used for performance, for runners, that are just trying to unload, while they’re marathon training maybe. They’re starting to feel the effects of the miles and so they can unload themselves, take 25 percent of their weight off, and get their miles in without the demand on the body,” Moyer said.
Effling walks for a quarter-of-a mile, learning how much pressure she can put on her ankle.
Which has been very helpful on her road to recovery.
“You know you can feel it, you’re definitely sore and fatigued, by the time you’re done, but that way you know what your body can handle,” Effling said.
“It’s just another tool in our toolbox to help them increase weight-bearing a little bit more comfortably, sure you can get away without it, but it is nice to be able to do something different to switch it up,” Moyer said.
The treadmill is being used by top sports professionals all over the world including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Tom Brady.
The Sanford Fieldhouse says it’s also found on the set of the show ‘Biggest Loser’ helping those on weight-loss journeys.