The treadmill turns 100 this year...and it may have run its course (pun intended).
Former White House staffer-turned fitness guru Paul Toback has invented a new kind of treadmill that offers a high-intensity running workout without the knee and joint damage that runners are all too familiar with. It's called the Sproing Treadmill, and it just might be the future of running.
Finally - a knee-friendly way to run!
"We've taken the elements of the treadmill that people have not necessarily liked over the years and we've tried to improve them," Toback said. His Sproing Treadmill replaces the hard surface of a normal treadmill with a softer air cushion. It allows users to emulate the motion of running without all of the joint damage that a hard surface can cause.
Toback says the Sproing Treadmill offers half the crushing impact of a normal treadmill and 2/3 less impact than running on the road. Knees and ankles everywhere, rejoice! The apparatus also includes a belt that connects runners to a band at the back of the machine. This allows the user to lean forward while she runs in place, creating a more accurate posture that a runner would take if she was moving forward.
This is an improvement from a typical treadmill, Toback said, because treadmills usually cause runners to run with their heels in front of them. This is an unhealthy and potentially dangerous way to run. The better way is to impact your running surface with the foremost part of the foot, with your legs behind you. The Sproing Treadmill naturally encourages the body to run that way, thus protecting runners from injury.
If you're worried about making sure you get the best work out possible, worry no more: Toback said the Sproing Treadmill is meant to recreate the feeling of running on the beach. As any runners who've experienced running on soft beach sand can tell you - it doesn't get much tougher than that!
The Sproing Treadmill is a story of second careers, too. Toback used to work in politics, having worked for President Bill Clinton during the first few years of his presidency. Yet he left that world for the fitness industry, serving as CEO for Bally Total Fitness for four years. As he attended fitness trade shows over the years, he discovered the need for a more healthy way to run; and voila, the Sproing Treadmill was born!
If the machine takes off, it could revolutionize the way many people, including older folks who have had to give up running due to joint issues, look at exercising. That would be a beautiful thing!