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Body Weight Support Treadmill Training Using the Ergo Trainer



Jørgen R. Jørgensen graduated as a Physiotherapist in 1994 and as a Master of Neurorehabilitation in 2015. Since 1995, Jørgen has been employed at the Center for Rehabilitation of Brain Injury (CRBI) in Copenhagen and has been devoted to an ongoing development of physiotherapy training programs for persons with Acquired Brain Injury in collaboration with The University of Copenhagen, the Centre for Muscle Research Copenhagen, and the National Research Centre for the Working Environment.

Through Jørgen's clinical and research work, the development of training equipment has resulted in a novel approach to rehabilitation that can be characterised as highly intensive, repetitive and functional.

Jørgen presented a webinar on the evidence for body weight support treadmill training for neurological, orthopaedic and sports injuries using the Ergo Trainer. He highlighted the advantages of using body weight support as being early intensive rehab, no risk of falling and it requires less therapists/assistants for tasks.

Here is a summary of the key points from his body weight support webinar:

1. Change in muscle fiber type requires activity and intensity

2. Inactivity leads to secondary symptoms and lowers functional level of patient (physical, cognitive and social)

3. National guidelines on mobility training requires intensive, repetitive and task oriented activities. This can be challenging in patients with low functional level, lack of energy, strength and endurance and risk of falling. This results in an inefficient dosage - fewer reps, low intensity and safe exercises are performed on a lower functional level than what is actually possible.

4. High priority for functional cardiovascular training at the CRBI Centre to improve walking ability, health and positive affects on mood and cognition. Studies show walking aerobic exs improves VO2 peak and walking ability.

5. Advantages of Body Weight Support - makes it easier to start rehab earlier and makes high intensity activities safe and possible. Patients need to cross the level of failure to train high level tasks; provides more training for less money - fitness maintenance groups require only therapist and one student; Allows for speed dependent treadmill training - using body weight support for safety. Body weight support is typically below 40% of body weight to ensure correct kinematics and the support required decreases over time - usually 10-20% of body weight provided.

6. Advantages of the Ergo Trainer- easy set up and application of the walking sling - 1 minute; Ergo Trainer allows for body weight support over various pieces of equipment such as treadmill, cross trainer, stepper, bike, skillmill and also allows for over ground training. Ergo Trainer allows for total access to the patient from rear and both sides - no hindrance from frame or equipment legs; Patient has clear vision with no obstructions from equipment; Ergo Trainer allows patient to walk forwards, backwards and sideways; Ergo Trainer has a dynamic range of 55cm Vs 12cm on the Lite Gait; Ergo Trainer supports up to 85kgs of their body weight; Ergo Trainer requires a minimum of 3.10m floor to ceiling height; Ergo Trainer requires a simple ceiling track installation and track length can be varied - minimum length being 4.3m.

The Ergo Trainer can work nicely with the SMARTfit cognitive and motor system over ground - keep them safe using the Ergo trainer and increase standing/balance tolerance OR challenge them with high motor physical activities whilst doing cognitive tasks.