The Runway is the nickname we’ve made for the Underwater Treadmill. It makes more sense when you see it switched up fast and tilted uphill – we look like a plane about to launch off a runway 😉
In all seriousness, our Underwater Treadmill is a pretty impressive piece of machinery. The belt moves either forwards or backwards and it tilts either downhill or uphill (if flat isn’t your thing!) It can be used at really slow speeds or switched up faster than we can keep up with – or it can even be stopped while we work on balance, strength and flexibility. Of course, the water is heated, and it can be filled anywhere up to about 80cm deep. Jets can be switched on for added resistance, and there are attachment points for exercise bands and harnesses.
For patient safety, we have multiple filters and even a UV light to kill bugs. The water is also chlorinated via salt and regularly changed.
Both people and pets use our underwater treadmill.
Examples of pets using it is dogs who have intervertebral disc disease, have had cruciate or patella surgery, or who are athletes wanting to improve their condition and performance.
We’ve found that people love using it, too – everyone from children with developmental disabilities to adults including those with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and autism.
With children, we play lots of fun games in the underwater treadmill. We can use balls, weights and pool noodles for games that work on leg strength, balance, core strength and co-ordination. Sometimes, we fill it low and do ‘animal walks’ in the water and other times, we fill it deeper and play the ‘bird nest’ game, where we squat down over our ‘egg’ (a ball) and then when it’s ready to hatch, we stand up and POP! Up comes our egg hatching out of the water!
Our four-legged friends tend to find that the funnest way to work in the underwater treadmill is with treat rewards or squeaky toys to keep them motivated. Head on over to our facebook page to see some videos of dogs working hard in the water!