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WEEKLY WORKOUT: The Alter G Treadmill

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This workout is unique from the beginning.  We have to wear special shorts, similar to biking shorts, that zip into place before climbing onto the Alter G.

"This machine was developed to help maintain bone and muscle health of astronauts when they're in space for a long period of time," says Dan Sweet, a physical therapist with Iowa Health.

Fitness tools and toys promise lots of things, but few can claim to use technology created by NASA.  In space, the technology pushes air down on the astronauts to simulate gravity.  On earth, the Alter G anti-gravity treadmill lightens the load.

"We can take 30, 40 pounds off - or more," explains Sweet.  "This really has a lot of different things - you can use it for recovery from injury, a major medical illness where you're de-conditioned, things like that.  We have a lot of athletes using the device right now."

Athletes like Caleb Hegna, a long distance runner.  He was injured last year.

"Every time I would take a step it was a sharp pain through the bone and then some cartilage tore.  I couldn't do anything, like squat.  I could barely sit down."

Hegna definitely couldn't run.  Surgery fixed his knee and his rehab included the Alter G.  Sweet says Hegna started running at about sixty percent of his body weight and incrementally increased the weight on his body.

Hegna says gradually adding weight helped him return to running and helped him understand the difference between knee pain and simple soreness.

"I did this for five weeks total.  About mid-way through the third week I started running outside."

It worked wonders for Hegna and can for you, too.  The Alter G isn't just for runners.  Regardless your sport, ailment or goals, it can help you feel out of this world.

"if you have any joint pain or injury, don’t wait to heal up," says Sweet.  If you want to get back sooner, this is the machine that will allow it to happen."