Take your standard fitness centre treadmill. Add water. Lots and lots of water.
In unimaginative hands, the result would be a sloshy, slippery mess that only a bucket and mop could cure. But in the hands of the folk at HydroCo, based at Seaford in Victoria, wetness plus walking-in-place equals the Physio 1611, a compact aquatic centre that can go where an Olympic-size pool couldn’t hope to fit.
The Physio 1611 is essentially a glass-walled container built around a treadmill surface. The user enters through a watertight door. Water from a dedicated storage tank is pumped into the container. The user controls the water level, along with the speed and pitch of the treadmill.
Seems simple enough. HydroCo, which manufactures container pools of all shapes and sizes (and for animals as well as humans) put together a promotional video that shows the Physio 1611 in action (below)
HydroCo is targeting fitness and health clubs, wellness centres, spas and physiotherapists. For the latter, the equipment is suitable for injury recovery and body strengthening because in the same way a pool allows for low-impact exercises.
The Physio 1611 can hold up to 3,000 litres of temperature-controlled water, though only up to about 2,000 litres is necessary for a treadmill workout. The container can fill or drain in about three minutes, HydroCo says.
As for concerns about sustaining water quality in what is essentially a pint-size pool, HydroCo says about 30 litres is drained from the system and replaced with fresh water each time someone uses the Physio 1611. A filtration and testing system treats the water before, during and after every session, keeping Ph levels and sanitising agents in balance.
OK, so what can you do in this thing? Lots of stuff, the company says. You can jog in waist-high water. You can drop the water level to a few inches high and feel that same resistance you get jogging through ocean surf. Or you raise the water high enough to float and kick, using the horizontal bars on the container walls for support.
Is Physio 1611 the next wave of fitness technology? Only time and tides will tell. So if see one at your friendly neighbourhood club or spa, give it a swirl. Rubber ducks are optional.