Title:
Method and device to enable and assist the elderly and females to exercise their leg muscles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This leg press exercise machine is comprised of a single movable foot-plate arranged to move up and down a vertical path for exercising one leg at a time. It is designed to be used in the standing position. A controlled weight resistance mechanism is connected to the movable foot-plate for providing adjustable resistance to movement. At least one hand rail is positioned to aid entry to and exit from the machine and to stabilize the user while exercising. A lumbar pad (or backrest) is positioned to provide counter stability while exercising. A selector lever arm is used to select a maximum range of movement of the foot-plate. This selector lever arm can also be used to help leverage-up the leg to a position from which it is about to start exercising. The foot-plate is dynamic on its horizontal axis to reduce stress on the exercising foot.

A method for using the leg press is comprised of standing with one leg on the ground (the stationary leg), and repeatedly operating the movable step up and down with the other leg (the exercising leg). The exercising leg is exercised until it is tired or has reached its quota, and the legs are switched to exercise the previously stationary leg while the previously exercising leg is rested.




Inventors:
Steinmetz, Zeev (Ashdod, IL)
Application Number:
11/502791
Publication Date:
02/14/2008
Filing Date:
08/14/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
482/95
International Classes:
A63B21/068; A63B21/062
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080220948HOPPING BALLSeptember, 2008Publicover et al.
20090318273Balanced Circular Free WeightsDecember, 2009Fenelon
20090170661Power supply arrangement for body fitness machineJuly, 2009Hsiao
20040242375Cross over flywheel exercise deviceDecember, 2004Blaylock
20050003936Stowable, swing-down martial arts trainerJanuary, 2005Schwendemann
20070105695Exercise apparatus for exercising lower limbsMay, 2007Susta
20070135690Mobile communication device that provides health feedbackJune, 2007Nicholl
20050245370Powerwalk plusNovember, 2005Boland
20070275839Stretching apparatus for knee flexorNovember, 2007Lee
20020022556Machine for muscular trainingFebruary, 2002Eriksson et al.
20030060337Surfboard simulating exerciser having handle deviceMarch, 2003Yu



Primary Examiner:
GANESAN, SUNDHARA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
UZI EZRA HAVOSHA & PARTNERS (Moshav Bet-Elazari, IL)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. An exercise machine comprising a frame, a foot-plate for exercising one leg at a time while the other leg is stationary, a means to apply resistance to the said foot-plate, a back-rest, a counterweight, a selector lever arm to select the range of motion of the said foot-plate, a means to assist the exercising leg by raising it from fractionally above floor level to the level selected to begin the exercise, at least one adjustable handle for the user to hold for the purpose of stabilization, whereby people generally and especially the elderly, infirm and females can exercise one foot at a time at a chosen range of motion and a chosen degree of resistance.

2. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein the said foot-plate is shaped with two foot-like shapes one next to the other and joined to each other along their adjacent edges thereby making a separate place for the right foot and for the left foot.

3. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein the said foot-plate moves pivotably on a horizontal axis thereby easing the pressure on the user's foot and Achilles' tendon.

4. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 further comprising a numbered dial to chose the range of vertical motion of the said foot-plate.

5. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein the said resistance is created by using a stack of weights attached by means of a cable and pulleys to the said foot-plate.

6. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 5 where the extent of the resistance is chosen by means of inserting a pin in a horizontal hole passing through the width of a chosen weight and into a bored pin-rod that is attached to the said cable whereby that weight and all the weights above it are lifted by the said cable when the said foot-plate is pressed.

7. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 6 wherein the said stack of weights and the said pin are easily reachable by the user of the said exercising machine prior to exercising.

8. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein the said back-rest is adjustable on a horizontal axis.

9. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein the said counter-weight is attached to an arm at or towards the far end of the arm from the said foot-plate.

10. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein the said selector lever arm is adjustable by means of a handle that selects a position of the height reachable by the said foot-plate.

11. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 10 wherein the said selected positions are represented by numbers on a dial.

12. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 10 wherein the said selector lever arm is pulled to the side to pull out a pin from a hole and the said pin directed to a different hole wherein different holes reflect different maximum heights of the said foot-plate and are represented by the said numbers on the said dial.

13. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein the said selector lever arm can be moved to lower the said foot-plate close to floor level for the purpose of the user placing his foot on the said foot-plate and the said selector lever arm then being used to raise up the said foot-plate with a foot thereon to the maximum height chosen for exercising.

14. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 further comprising at least three wheels for transporting the machine where at least one wheel mechanism lifts the said exercise machine off the ground causing the weight of the said exercising machine to rest on the said wheel and of which at least one wheel is lockable thereby enabling the said exercise machine to rest firmly on the ground or optionally, be moved on the said wheels.

15. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein the access to the said exercise machine is open and uncluttered thereby easing the entry to and exit from the said exercising machine by the elderly or infirm and easing the work of a helper of the said elderly or infirm user.

16. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein the said stabilization is during entry to and exit from the said exercising machine as well as during the action of exercising.

17. An exercise machine comprising a foot-plate for exercising one leg at a time while the other leg is stationary, a means to apply resistance to the said foot-plate, a back-rest, a counterweight, a selector lever arm to select the range of motion of the said foot-plate, a means to assist the exercising leg by raising it from fractionally above floor level to the level selected to begin the exercise, at least one adjustable handle for the user to hold for the purpose of stabilization, instructions for use of the said exercising machine, at least one picture of an everyday task that is enhanced by the use of the said exercising machine, whereby people generally and especially the elderly, infirm and females can exercise one foot at a time at a chosen range of motion and a chosen degree of resistance.

18. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the said foot-plate is shaped with two foot-like shapes one next to the other and joined to each other along their adjacent edges thereby making a separate place for the right foot and for the left foot.

19. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the said foot-plate moves pivotably on a horizontal axis thereby easing the pressure on the user's foot and Achilles' tendon.

20. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 further comprising a numbered dial to chose the extent of vertical movement of the said foot-plate.

21. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the said resistance is created by using a stack of weights attached by means of a cable and pulleys to the said foot-plate.

22. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 21 where the extent of the resistance is chosen by means of inserting a pin in a horizontal hole passing through the width of a chosen weight and into a bored pin-rod that is attached to the said cable whereby that weight and all the weights above it are lifted by the said cable when the said foot-plate is pressed.

23. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 22 wherein the said stack of weights and the said pin are easily reachable by the user of the said exercising machine prior to exercising.

24. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the said back-rest is adjustable on a horizontal axis.

25. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the said counter-weight is attached to an arm at or towards the far end of the arm from the said foot-plate.

26. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the said selector lever arm is adjustable by means of a handle that selects a position representing the top height of the range of motion by the said foot-plate.

27. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 26 wherein the said selected positions are represented by numbers on a dial.

28. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 26 wherein the said selector lever arm is pulled to the side to pull out a pin from a hole and the said pin directed to a different hole wherein different holes reflect different maximum heights of the said foot-plate and are represented by the said numbers on the said dial.

29. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the said selector lever arm can be moved to lower the said foot-plate close to floor level for the purpose of the user placing his foot on the said foot-plate and the said selector lever arm then being used to raise up the said foot-plate with a foot thereon to the maximum height chosen for exercising.

30. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the access to the said exercise machine is open and uncluttered thereby easing the entry to and exit from the said exercising machine by the elderly or infirm and easing the work of a helper of the said elderly or infirm user.

31. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the said stabilization is during entry to and exit from the said exercising machine as well as during the action of exercising.

32. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the said instructions are in large clear print well contrasted with the background of the said print being visible and readable by the user of the said exercise machine from the position of the user when ready to exercise.

33. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 17 wherein the said picture of an everyday task is on the body of the said exercise machine in a position easily visible and designed to be easily understandable which task is being represented.

34. An exercise machine as claimed in claim 33 wherein the said everyday task is walking up stairs.

35. An exercise machine as claimed in claims 1 and 17 wherein the said cable is substituted by a belt or chain

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention is in the field of exercise resistance machines for improvement of general health, especially strengthening leg muscles, like the quadriceps and gluteus and the knee area, providing the physiotherapeutic effects to strengthen, build and rebuild muscle and bone mass, and prevents muscle and bone mass deterioration. This patent relates to and caters for the special needs of the elderly and females, and those convalescing from injury or surgery.

BACKGROUND of the INVENTION

The use of machines for exercising the body is well known in the art. For many decades it has been considered beneficial for a person's health to exercise regularly. The benefits are many and probably some that we are not yet aware. A few of the better known benefits are to the functioning of the heart, the blood vessels, the blood cells, the muscles, the bone structure, the functioning of the brain, the levels of cholesterol and blood sugars, and the general feeling of well-being. There was a time when it was felt to be not so beneficial for the elderly to exercise but now it is considered also very beneficial. Obviously, the degree of stress on the body and length of time of such exercise varies from person to person depending on age, general health and any specific disabilities endured.

One of the factors that make it difficult for the elderly is their lack of agility. They often have pain when moving their various limbs. This discourages them from starting to exercise even though when they have exercised, usually they feel better than beforehand. If they avoid exercising then they do not enjoy the many side benefits of exercising and a vicious cycle is sometimes created whereby their health deteriorates generally. Most prior art exercise machines do not take into account the special needs of the elderly and therefore help to create this barrier. The machines are often cumbersome, sometimes complicated to operate, without easily understandable instructions, without handles to aid entering and exiting and without taking into account the sometimes frail and painful limbs of the elderly. They are basically designed for the young and middle aged.

The elderly either currently suffer from ailments that are best assisted by controlled exercise or are likely to suffer from such ailments if they do not exercise, for example, heart disease, weight control, walking stability, osteoporosis, lower back pains.

Daily activities, that a younger person performs automatically without realizing how many muscles and joints are involved, can be a major cause of pain and other discomforts throughout the day for the elderly and disabled.

Examples of such daily activities are bending to tie shoes, getting in and out of the car or bath, walking up stairs or a hill, pushing a shopping cart, carrying groceries and simply stretching to reach items. These are but a few of the hundreds of activities that an elderly person has to do daily and without regular exercising and muscle strengthening these everyday activities become more difficult as the person ages.

Women are more prone than men to a bone disease called osteoporosis, usually from the age of menopause and older. One of the major recommended preventative measures for osteoporosis is regular exercising of the weight bearing kind in order to increase the bone mass. Furthermore, females more than males, require special features in exercise machines to cater for their more delicate body structures.

Therefore, it would be preferable for the elderly, those convalescing and females, to use exercise machines that are purpose built and user friendly for their specific needs.

The apparatus of this invention is specifically and professionally designed for the special needs of this group of users. The innovation of this invention includes and/or takes into account amongst others, the following factors:

    • the user's general lack of agility and possibility of various pains when moving into position to start exercising, during the exercising and when exiting,
    • to give as much as possible clutter free access and a minimum of overhead apparatus to ease entry/exit and to avoid accidental injury to the user or a helper of the user,
    • to have a dynamic foot-plate to reduce stress on the user's foot and Achilles' tendon.
    • adjustable range of motion,
    • the need for a comfortable seat and/or back-rest to give the user a feeling of comfort and stability,
    • the need for smaller gradations of weights so that resistance and muscle stress can be more gradually increased,
    • the proper placing of handles and bars to aid entering and leaving the machines and stabilizing handles to optionally hold while exercising,
    • notices and instructions written in clear language and large print,
      and many other features for the benefit of the infirm as are herein described in greater detail.

Prior art has addressed some aspects of the needs of older people. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,308,302 issued to Miller reveals a moveable exercise machine that can be brought to a chair ridden person to exercise. The novelty is more in the portability features than the use of the machine itself. US Patent Application No. 20040220019 issued to Maser reveal a special feature for older people namely that in a pedal machine both pedals can start at their lowest level instead of one up and one down. The Japanese Patent No. 2004016577 issued to Shigeo et al. reveals an exercise machine where the user can exercise in a recumbent position but the range of movements of the arms and legs is limited with no possibility of increasing or decreasing the stress to the arms or legs. Finally, U.S. Pat. No. 6,652,419 issued to Rota showing how beneficial the rebounding type of exercise is for all aged users especially the elderly.

The uniqueness of this invention is the combination of all its various features into one device as are herein described. After years of research the innovators of this invention have found solutions to the above mentioned problems generally and to the specific problems and needs of the elderly and infirm. The result is incorporated in the apparatus of this invention as hereinafter described. The result is a user friendly machine that the infirm will want to use because it answers their special needs. It will help them overcome that so important initial step of starting to exercise.

The commercial potential for such machines is great. Firstly the purchaser could be an end user of the exercise machine of this invention or an exercise club that also wishes to cater for the elderly, infirm or those recuperating from injury. Such exercise clubs will be able to attract more members and from a wider range of population. Exercise clubs for women only, will be able to offer machines user friendly for females. Old-age homes are likely purchasers of these machines, to improve the overall health of their members, to usefully occupy their time and to attract new members by showing quality facilities. Hotels often have exercise rooms and will want to provide quality facilities for their elderly customers. Hospitals or homes for rehabilitation after medical operations or accidents are another likely customer for such machines. Most of the features designed for older people will also assist people recouping from illness or operations. They will recover faster, reduce the number of visits to the physiotherapist and be happy that they are helping themselves to become independent and return to their normal routine.

The manufacturers of this invention will be catering for a market that is expanding rapidly both by the greater percentage of people living to older ages and the increasing awareness amongst all sectors of the population that regular exercising is a key to improved health. Health funds have already recognized how many millions of dollars they save each year when their members maintain a better standard of health. As a result these health funds often subsidize for their members, the membership fees of exercise clubs. All these factors will contribute to the commercial success of this invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description present embodiments of the invention, and are intended to provide an overview, or framework, for understanding the nature and character of the invention as it is claimed. The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the invention, and are incorporated into and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate various embodiments of the invention and, together with the description serve to explain the principles and operations of the invention.

An object of this invention is to provide a machine to exercise and thereby strengthen the leg muscles as well as maintain bone mass of the elderly, the infirm and females.

This muscle strengthening and bone mass maintenance will in turn help to improve balance, increase knee stability, increase thigh and shin strength, increase pelvic suspension and reduce incidence of falls.

Another object of the invention is to increase muscle strength in the pelvic area.

Another object of the invention is to strengthen the muscles called quadriceps and gluteus.

Another object of the invention is to strengthen the hamstrings.

Another object of the invention is to have a dynamic foot-press pad to reduce pressure on the foot and on the Achilles' tendon while exercising.

Another object of the invention is to enable one leg at a time to exercise independently of each other. This helps those who need to exercise but must not put too much strain on the heart or where it is beneficial to exercise one leg at a time.

Most leg-press exercise machines have one foot-plate for both feet to push against a resistance. Usually, one leg is weaker than the other and when one foot-plate is pressed by both feet together, the weaker will not be exercised to its maximum potential. The strong leg will dominate and do most of the work. This invention ensures that each leg works as much as it needs to increase its strength.

Another object of this invention is to enhance a person's ability to balance.

Another object of this invention is to ease the access to and exit from the exercise machine where for example, there is no overhanging apparatus potentially capable of causing head or other injury and without sharp edges protruding from the apparatus.

Another object of the invention is to have at least one adjustable static hand support bar to increase the user's stability while using machine and/or while entering or exiting.

Another object of this invention is to have an easy to operate selector lever that helps to lift the leg to one of the starting positions and which the selector lever arm also selects an adjustable maximum range of motion for the particular leg that is exercising.

Another object of the invention is to have an upholstered and adjustable back and lumbar support pad.

Another object of this invention is for the said exercise machine to be stably resting on the ground when in use and optionally moveable when so desired.

Another object of the invention is to make instructions for the user simple to understand and written in large print in a color that contrasts with its background. It is also an object to make the said instructions readable while the user is in position on the exercise machine.

Another object of the invention is to have a picture on the body of the apparatus in a clearly visible position and color, illustrating an everyday task. This task that the infirm often find difficult to carry out and is made easier by strengthening the specific muscles that the machine of this invention helps to strengthen. State of art exercise machines often mention on the machine the name of the muscles that will be strengthened by the machine or sometimes they have a picture of those muscles in a picture of a body. The user of an exercise machine will be able to relate much easier to a picture of the everyday task that will be enhanced by using the machine. It will give the user a greater incentive to work diligently at the said exercises.

One of the everyday tasks that is associated with this invention is walking up stairs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION of the DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain, by way of example only, the principles of the invention:

FIG. A is a side sectional diagram of the essential parts of the exercise machine of this invention.

FIG. B is a back sectional diagram of the essential parts of the exercise machine of this invention.

FIG. C is a top sectional diagram of the essential parts of the exercise machine of this invention.

FIG. D is a diagram of the selector dial.

DESCRIPTION of the PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As will be appreciated the present invention is capable of other and different embodiments than those discussed above and described in more detail below, and its several details are capable of modifications in various aspects, all without departing from the spirit of the invention.

Accordingly, the drawings and description of the embodiments set forth below are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive.

FIG. A shows the side view of this invention. The machine can be referred to a standing leg press 100. The user stands at the side of the standing leg press 100 approximately on the position marked 101. He can rest his back on the adjustable lumbar pad or backrest 102. Backrest 102 can be adjusted forward or backward with the aid a spring loaded pin 105 being pulled out of a bored hole in the backrest support rod 104 and being released into another hole after having adjusted the backrest 102 position forward or backward. This adjustment is to make the backrest 102 be at the right distance to support different sized users and enable them to have a comfortable contra support when using this standing leg press 100.

The user of the standing leg press 100 can hold onto the adjustable bar 106 to steady himself when using the device and when entering to and exiting from the standing leg press 100. The standing leg press 100 is designed to be used by having one foot on the floor while the other does the exercise. The first step therefore is to place one foot on the footplate 108. The footplate 108 is shaped as if to hold both feet at one time see FIG. C 108, but this is not the case.

When the left foot is standing on the floor, the right foot is placed on the right-hand side of footplate 108 to exercise and visa versa. The exercising requires the foot on the footplate 108 to push down the footplate 108 and then let it rise again to its starting position.

The footplate 108 is capable of rotation pivotally on the horizontal axle 110 that is in turn attached to the arm 112. This swiveling ability of the foot-plate 108 is to reduce as much as possible the strain on the foot and in particular to the Achilles' tendon of the user. This is due to the fact that as the foot pushes down a fixed foot-plate, the angle between the foot and the shin-bone changes causing the said strain. The dynamic foot-plate 108 changes its angle as the foot rises and lowers during the exercising, thereby keeping the angle between the foot and the shin-bone close to 90 °.

The selector lever arm 114 sets the maximum height of the footplate 108. This height is adjustable using the selector lever arm 114 that is attached to a rotary selector dial 116. This selector dial 116 has easily visible large sized numbers next to each hole, which can be selected by the user and easily seen from a distance. The significance of this adjustable height feature is particularly beneficial to those whose range of motion in their legs and/or hips is limited.

Such a user would select for example “number 1” on the selector dial 116 so that the footplate 108 would be raised off the ground only for example ten centimeters. The range of vertical motion of the foot on footplate 108 would be limited to ten centimeters maximum height down to the floor. As the user manages to extend his range of motion he would select a higher number on the selector dial 116 and the footplate 108 would then start from a higher starting position and would need to be pushed down a greater distance. The selector dial 116 is shown in greater detail in FIG. D.

This selector choice of starting heights for the footplate 108 is manually operated. It creates a physical stopper to prevent the footplate 108 from rising more than a pre-determined height. Apart from the aforementioned adjustable range of motion, the user can also adjust the degree of resistance the foot will have to overcome to push the footplate 108 down to the floor. The resistance is usually adjusted conveniently using weights as is well known in the art. The weights 124 are housed in the weight housing 122 and are stacked vertically. The cable 128 joins the arm 112, via the selector dial 116, to the bored pin-rod 126 passing over pulleys to facilitate changes of direction and to minimize friction. The cable 128 can be, alternatively, a belt or a chain. The bored pin-rod 126 has at least one hole corresponding to the number of weights 124. The weights 124 each have a hole in them passing horizontally from front to back. The pin 130 is inserted through a certain weight 124 and into one of the holes in the bored pin-rod 126. When the user presses his foot on footplate 108, the connecting cable 128 will cause the weights 124 to rise. The amount of weights 124 to rise is the one with the pin 130 through it and any weights above it. The lower the pin 130 is placed in the stack of weights 124, the more weights 124 will be lifted and hence the greater the resistance on the user's leg as he presses on footplate 108.

The arm 112 has a counterweight 120 at the opposite end from the footplate 108.

FIG. B is the side view of the standing leg press 100. The back view of the lumbar pad 102 is attached to the body of the standing leg press 100. The adjustable bar 106 is positioned horizontally and at a height convenient for a person to hold and steady himself while initially positioning himself and while operating the standing leg press 100.

The footplate 108 is seen from the sectional view. The selector lever arm 114 is attached to selector dial 116 at pivot joint 154. The pin 156 is attached at one end to the selector lever arm 114 and its other end fits into a selected hole FIG. D 160 in the selector dial FIG. D 116. When a different maximum height of the foot-plate 108 is required, a different hole in the selector dial 116 needs to be chosen.

This is achieved by pulling back the selector lever arm 114 to pull the pin 156 out of one of the holes and then releasing the spring loaded selector lever arm 114 to insert the pin 156 into the desired hole FIG. D 160. The base 152 of the device is a length and width to hold the apparatus stable during use.

FIG. C shows the standing leg press 100 from the vertical view. The parts visible in this figure are the base 152, the 5 lumbar pad 102, the back rest support rod 104 for horizontal adjustment of lumbar pad 102, the counterweight 120, the weights housing 122, the selector lever arm 114, the footplate 108 showing the positions for each foot.

FIG. D shows the selector dial 116 with its numbered holes 160 which are used to select the maximum height of the foot-plate FIG. A 108. The weights cable FIG. A 128 is attached to the selector dial 116 at coupling 162.