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“Stevenage Leisure Limited has been running a successful exercise referral scheme since 1998. Over the years, thousands of people have benefited from the expertise of qualified instructors helping them to return to, or to start physical exercise for the first time. Customers are referred from medical professionals to us with a variety of health problems and we are proud that we have been able to help many return to full health.

Depending on how severely affected the individual is we can provide a programme to improve or stabalise their medical condition. However, some of the equipment within gym facilities is not suitable for more complex conditions and we are aware that some are not able to have the benefit of regular physical activity which in turn can lead to the deterioration of existing conditions and the development of chronic and even life-threatening problems

Before we installed the Alter G treadmill, there were a percentage of customers that we struggled to provide CV training to, the only option would be the arm ergometer which for some, if they had upper body disabilities or chronic neck or shoulder problems, would not be possible.

This all changed when we saw this incredible piece of kit at a leisure industry show in 2016. We knew then that it would revolutionise the training we could provide to exercise referral patients. Lifestyles managed to fund raise the money to purchase the treadmill by doing various activities; fit-a-thons, marathons, sponsored events, some wonderful people in the community donated to our fundraising appeal and we were successful with Big Lottery application.

The first day we had the Alter G treadmill delivered to the gym there was great excitement from both customers and staff. To see people who are usually reliant on walking sticks, frames or wheelchairs, in some cases after many years, actually stand tall and walk with confidence was incredibly emotional for all of us. Four years later, this is still the case; it is such a wonderful part of the instructor’s job to see the customer’s happiness when they are using the treadmill for the first time and equally over the weeks and months when there are improvements to their health.

Stevenage Leisure Ltd is a not for profit organisation with a charitable status providing arts, , sport and leisure to the community, not exactly the setting you would expect for an Alter G anti- gravity treadmill. Typically, they will be in private clubs and not available to the general public. But, SLL believe that the community gyms are where these treadmills belong so that more people are given the chance to not only be physically active but to improve their often debilitating health conditions and improve their quality of life.

Over the years we have seen so many people improve both physically and mentally from using the treadmill. We chose to have the machine next to regular gym equipment so that the customer feels part of the social experience of the gym, this is so important for mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, since the gym was closed due to the COVID – 19 pandemic we have heard from some of our customers that their condition has deteriorated because they haven’t been able to use the treadmill. We can’t wait to welcome them back.”

Juanita Prescott, Head of Health and Wellbeing Development, Stevenage Leisure Limited

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