Title:
Auxiliary equipment for exercise treadmill
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Auxiliary equipment is provided that aids in walking or running on an exercise treadmill, allowing for natural and stable walking or running. The auxiliary equipment comprises a pair of hip supports disposed on both sides of the hips of a user and adjustable in the lateral direction, so as to prevent the user from tilting sideways when walking and when running as a result of contact between the hips and the hip support. Furthermore, a back support, which is adjustable in the vertical direction, is disposed behind the back of the user, so as to prevent the user from tilting forward or backward when walking or running, as a result of the back support contacting the back.



Inventors:
Nakamoto, Yuzo (Odawara, JP)
Application Number:
10/949077
Publication Date:
02/24/2005
Filing Date:
09/24/2004
Assignee:
NAKAMOTO YUZO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61H3/00; A63B22/02; (IPC1-7): A63B22/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TAM M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KAZUYUKI NIEDA (Kodaira, JP)
Claims:
1. Auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill comprising a pair of hip supports disposed on both sides of the hips of a user and adjustable in the lateral direction, so as to prevent the user from tilting sideways when walking and when running as a result of contact between the hips and the hip supports.

2. Auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill comprising a back support disposed behind the back of a user and adjustable in the vertical direction, so as to prevent the user from tilting forward or backward when walking and when running, as a result of contact between the back and the back support.

3. The auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill recited in claim 1, wherein the auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill is movable in the longitudinal direction of the main body of the exercise treadmill.

4. The auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill recited in claim 2, wherein the auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill is movable in the longitudinal direction of the main body of the exercise treadmill.

5. The auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill recited in claim 1, wherein one end of a connecting member is attached to the hip support member and the other end thereof is slidably inserted in a cylindrical mounting member, so that the space between the pair of facing hip supports can be adjusted depending on the degree of insertion of this other end of the connecting member into the mounting member.

6. The auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill recited in claim 2, wherein one end of a connecting member is attached to the hip support member and the other end thereof is slidably inserted in a cylindrical mounting member, so that the space between the pair of facing hip supports can be adjusted depending on the degree of insertion of this other end of the connecting member into the mounting member.

7. The auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill recited in claim 1, wherein the bottom end of a support rod that is attached to the back support is slidably inserted in a cylindrical member that is open at the top and the bottom, so that the back support can be moved up and down with the vertical movement of the support rod in the cylindrical member.

8. The auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill recited in claim 2, wherein the bottom end of a support rod that is attached to the back support is slidably inserted in a cylindrical member that is open at the top and the bottom, so that the back support can be moved up and down with the vertical movement of the support rod in the cylindrical member.

9. The auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill recited in claim 5, wherein movable members having U-shaped sections are fitted at the edges of both sides of the exercise treadmill base so as to engage the base at the interior of the U-shaped sections and so as to be slidable in the longitudinal direction.

10. The auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill recited in claim 6, wherein movable members having U-shaped sections are fitted at the edges of both sides of the exercise treadmill base so as to engage the base at the interior of the U-shaped sections and so as to be slidable in the longitudinal direction.

11. The auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill recited in claim 7, wherein movable members having U-shaped sections are fitted at the edges of both sides of the exercise treadmill base so as to engage the base at the interior of the U-shaped sections and so as to be slidable in the longitudinal direction.

12. The auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill recited in claim 8, wherein movable members having U-shaped sections are fitted at the edges of both sides of the exercise treadmill base so as to engage the base at the interior of the U-shaped sections and so as to be slidable in the longitudinal direction.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to auxiliary equipment for aiding in walking or running on exercise treadmills.

BACKGROUND ART

Various different types of exercise treadmills have been proposed for walking or running on a running belt. The user walks or runs at a speed commensurate with the speed of the running belt of the exercise treadmill, but it is not always easy to continue walking or running stably within a limited area on the running belt. It is particularly difficult to walk stably over a long period of time, or as part of rehabilitative training. Exercise treadmills have been devised which allow for switching the walking/running speed during use, but there is a risk of the user losing balance when switching the walking/running speed.

In consideration of the situation described above, an object of the present invention is to provide auxiliary equipment that aids in walking or running on an exercise treadmill, allowing for natural and stable walking or running.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is based on the idea that, in order to maintain stable walking/running conditions, it is important to avoid lateral tilting of the body (which is to say, tilting to the perpendicular of the direction in which one is walking) as well as forward or backward tilting of the body (the direction in which one is walking being understood as forward) when walking or running. As the hips are the center of movement for basic walking and running (a scissoring motion of the two legs) it is effective to provide hip supports, on both sides of the hips, which contact the hips so as to provide support. Furthermore, in order to prevent tilting forward or backward, a back support is provided that contacts the back from behind so as to provide support. It is important to walk or to run with good posture, including an upright back, and as the back support contacts the back from behind so as to provide support, it is possible to prevent the body from tilting backward or forward, and particularly to prevent more than a certain amount of backward tilt. The hip supports and the back support can be moved and positioned to suit the user, so that the positions thereof correspond to the physical characteristics of the user (height and the like) and the purpose of the user.

The means for solving the problems described above are as follows. A pair of hip supports, which are adjustable in the lateral direction, are disposed on both sides of the hips of the user, so as to prevent the user from tilting sideways when walking or running as a result of contact with the hips by the hip supports.

Furthermore, a back support, which is adjustable in the vertical direction, is disposed behind the back of the user, so as to prevent the user from tilting forward or backward when walking or running, as a result of the back support contacting the back.

The pair of hip supports, which are adjustable in the lateral direction, are disposed on either side of the hips of the user, so as to prevent the user from tilting sideways when walking or running as a result of the hip supports contacting the hips, one end of a connecting member being attached to the hip support member, the other end thereof being slidably inserted in a cylindrical mounting member, so that the space between the pair of facing hip supports can be adjusted depending on the degree of insertion of this other end of the connecting member into the mounting member.

Furthermore, the back support, which is adjustable in the vertical direction, is disposed behind the back of the user, so as to prevent the user from tilting forward or backward when walking and when running, as a result of the back support contacting the back, the bottom end of a support rod that is attached to the back support being slidably inserted in a cylindrical member that is open at the top and the bottom, so that the back support can be moved up and down with the vertical movement of the support rod in the cylindrical member.

Furthermore, a movable member having a U-shaped section is fitted at the edges of both sides of a base of the exercise treadmill so as to engage the base at the interior of the U-shaped section and so as to be slidable in the longitudinal direction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an exercise treadmill fitted with the auxiliary equipment for an exercise treadmill.

FIG. 4 is a partial expanded view showing one end of an L-shaped connecting member, which is inserted into a cylindrical mounting member.

FIG. 5 is likewise a partial expanded view showing one end of an L-shaped connecting member, which is inserted into a cylindrical mounting member.

FIG. 6 is a partial expanded view showing the bottom end of a support rod that is slidably inserted into a cylindrical member.

FIG. 7 is a partial expanded view showing a foot member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A mode of embodiment of auxiliary equipment 1 for aiding in walking or running on an exercise treadmill according to the present invention is described with reference to the drawings. An exercise treadmill 2 is provided with a walking or running part 3 (hereinafter the “walking or running part” is referred to as a “walking part”) and a belt-shaped member turns in the walking part 3 so that a user can walk or run on the walking part 3 at a speed commensurate with the motion of the belt. A pair of handlebars 5 is mounted in front of the walking part 3 so that users can grasp the handlebars 5 and, if necessary, support themselves therewith. The structure of such an exercise treadmill 2 is well known and there are no particular restrictions on the specific structure thereof.

The auxiliary equipment 1 for aiding in walking or running is a separate structure from the exercise treadmill 2, and this separate structure is attached to the exercise treadmill (see FIG. 3). There are no particular restrictions on the specific means by which the equipment is attached to the treadmill. The auxiliary equipment 1 for aiding in walking or running may also form a unified structure with the exercise treadmill 2, constituting one constituent part of the exercise treadmill 2.

Two upright shafts 6 are attached to a foot member 5 of the auxiliary equipment 1 and a horizontal member 7 is disposed at the top of the shafts 6. Horizontal members 7 are disposed at the sides and to the rear of the user (not shown in the figure) leaving the front open. At the sides, the horizontal members 7 are disposed at substantially the same height as, or at a slightly lower height than, the hips of the user. A pair of mutually facing cylindrical mounting members 9 project inward from each of the lateral horizontal members 7 and each of the hip supports 10 are connected to the corresponding cylindrical mounting members 9 by a pair of L-shaped connecting members 11.

The pair of hip supports 6 are disposed on both sides of the hips of the user (not shown in the figure) of the exercise treadmill 2. During use, the hip supports 10 contact the hips of the user at the sides, so as to prevent the user from tilting to the side while walking or running. It is not necessary that the hip supports 10 be in constant contact with the hips; rather it suffices that these be positioned so that contact with the hips is possible. A considerable gap may also be provided between the hip supports 10 and the hips, which limits lateral tilt to within a predetermined range.

The hip supports 10 are disposed so as to be adjustable in the lateral direction. The term “lateral direction” refers to the direction to the left and the right of the user when the equipment is used, which is to say the direction orthogonal to the direction in which the user walks. By moving the hip support 10 in the lateral direction, it is possible to adjust the gap between the hips and the hip support 10. It is therefore possible to maintain a gap suitable to the individual user, while effectively preventing lateral tilt.

Various different structures can allow for adjustment of the hip support 10 in the lateral direction, but one example of such structures is a structure wherein one end 12 of the connecting member 11 is attached to the hip support 10, while the other end 13 is slidably inserted into a cylindrical mounting member 9 so as to allow for adjustment of the width of the space between the two facing hip support members 10, by varying the degree of insertion of this other end 13 of the connecting member into the cylindrical mounting member 9. In other words, one end 12 of the L-shaped connecting member 11 is attached to the hip support member 10, while the other end 13 is slidably inserted into the cylindrical mounting member 9. The distance between the hip support member 10 and the cylindrical mounting member 9 (separation distance) is determined by the extent to which this other end 13 of the connecting member is inserted into the cylindrical mounting member 9. With this distance adjusted, a screw 16 is screwed into a threaded hole 15 in the cylindrical mounting member 9, and the screw 16 is tightened until the end of the screw 16 presses against the outer circumference of this other end 13. As a result, this other end 13 of the connecting member is immobilized within the mounting member 9, so as to attach the hip support member 10 to the lateral mounting member 9. By adjusting the distance between this pair of facing hip support members 10 in this manner, the lateral distance can be adjusted. When the screw 16, which has been screwed into the threaded hole 15, is loosened, the immobilization of this other end 13 of the connecting member 11 is released and it is possible to freely slide this other end 13 of the connecting member in and out of the cylindrical mounting member 9.

The auxiliary equipment 1 comprises back support 17, which is disposed behind the back of the user, so as to prevent the user from tilting forward or backward when walking or running, as a result of the back support 17 contacting the back. The back support 17 contacts the back from behind, so as to support the back, and is particularly effective in preventing the user from tilting forward or backward. The back support 17 does not necessarily have to contact the back at all times during use; rather it suffices that it be positioned so that contact with the back is possible. In the illustrated example, the back support 17 comprises two rotatably mounted rollers 19. The rollers 19 work together to exert a massage function on the back when in contact therewith.

It is possible to adjust the height of the back support 17. Various different structures can allow for vertical adjustment of the back support 17, but one example of such structures is a structure wherein the bottom ends 22 of a pair of support rods 21, which are attached to the back support 17, are slidably inserted into a pair of cylindrical members 20, having openings at the tops and the bottoms thereof, so as to allow for vertical movement of the back support 17 by moving the support rods 21 up or down in the cylindrical members 20.

That is to say, the back support 17, which is provided with the rollers 19, is attached to the cylindrical members 20 by way of the support rods 21, the cylindrical members 20, which have openings at the tops and the bottoms thereof, being provided at both of the rear terminals of the lateral members 7, and the supporting rods 21 moving vertically in the cylindrical members 20, into which the bottom ends 22 of the support rods are slidably inserted, allowing for corresponding vertical movement of the back support 17. A screw 25 is screwed into a threaded hole 23 in the cylindrical member 20, so that if the screw 25 is tightened until one end thereof presses against the outer circumference of the support rod 21, the support rod 21 is immobilized in the cylindrical member 21. It is thus possible to adjust the height of the back support 17 by way of vertical movement within the cylindrical member 20. If the screw 25 is loosened, the immobilization of the bottom end 22 of the support rod in the cylindrical member 20 is released.

The auxiliary equipment 1 for an exercise treadmill is movable in the longitudinal direction of the main body 26 of the exercise treadmill. A variety of structures are capable of allowing for longitudinal movement of the auxiliary equipment 1, one of which is illustrated. That is to say, the foot member 5 has a sectional U-shape, and a parting strip 29 made out of synthetic resin or the like and having a suitable degree of hardness is provided along a portion of a recess 27. Edges 30 on both sides of a base of the exercise treadmill fit into the recess, beneath the parting strip 29, so that the foot member 5 is longitudinally slidable along both edges 30 of the base 33 of the exercise treadmill when fitted thereon. The foot member 5 is displaced longitudinally by sliding, allowing for adjustment of the position of the foot member 5, and thus adjustment of the position of the auxiliary equipment with respect to the main body 2 of the exercise treadmill.

A screw 32 is screwed into a threaded hole 31 at the top of the foot member 5, and when the screw 32 is tightened until one end thereof presses against the parting strip 29, pressure is exerted against the base 33 of the exercise treadmill, with the parting strip 29 slightly deformed so as to immobilize the foot member 5 on the base 33 of the exercise treadmill. If the screw 32 is loosened, the immobilization of the foot member 5 on the base 33 of the exercise treadmill is released.

It is possible to adjust the gap between the user (which is to say, the hips and the back of the user) and the hip supports and back support, so as to optimize the contact therebetween according to the physical characteristics of the user (height, degree of obesity and the like) and the purpose of the user. By virtue of this invention, it is possible to suitably adjust the positions of the hip support and/or the back support, allowing for natural and stable walking and running. Other outstanding advantages are also provided, such as conferring the ability to stably walk or run in this manner for long periods of time. Note that an exercise treadmill 2 itself comprising a structure similar to that of the auxiliary equipment 1 for walking or running falls within the scope of the present invention.