Locomotor Training is an innovative intervention that helps individuals with gait impairments. NextStep Fitness is the first facility on the West Coast to offer Locomotor Training in a community fitness setting. The technique is an activity-based therapy that works to retrain the spinal cord to "remember" the pattern of walking again.
Locomotor Training includes use of body weight supported treadmill training, in which participants are suspended in a parachute-type harness over the treadmill. Once the treadmill begins moving, leg movements are manually assisted by therapists to help patients perform stepping movements on the treadmill. These movements are associated with a pattern of leg muscle activation that is generated by locomotor centers within the spinal cord. Assisted leg movements are necessary in order to stimulate the locomotor centers, within the spinal cord, to activate leg muscles that the patient cannot move voluntarily. The process assists individuals with certain types of neurological dysfunction improve their locomotor skills and eventually walking ability.
A side benefit of this training is that patients can become healthier. When they remain wheelchair users, patients frequently suffer from pulmonary and cardio-vascular problems, along with metabolic problems, diabetes, and muscle and bone loss. With Locomotor Training added to their fitness program, people experience better overall health and report a better quality of life.
Our staff is highly trained by Dr. Susan Harkema, Director of the NRN, and the experts from the NRN and we will constantly share information to make sure we are using the latest and best research in application.