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Treadmill History

Since the treadmill is one of man's greatest inventions hip2bfit.com will now present to you the lowdown on the treadmill. Enjoy and when you're done make sure you visit the Treadmill shopping section.

Origins

Treadmills were historically used as a method of reforming offenders in prison, an innovation introduced by Sir William Cubitt in 1817.; these were also termed treadwheels. The first private health club in the U.S. was started by Professor Louis Attila in 1894. Cardio workout machines entered the clubs much later and were developed initially for the hospital. The first medical treadmill designed to diagnose heart and lung disease was invented by Dr. Robert Bruce and Wayne Quinton at the University of Washington in 1952. Dr. Kenneth Cooper's research on the benefits of aerobic exercise, published in 1968, provided a medical argument to support the commercial development of the home treadmill and exercise bike.

Robert Arthur Bruce

Robert Arthur Bruce was an internationally recognized cardiologist and a professor at the University of Washington. Because of the nature of his research and his development of the Bruce Protocol for exercise testing of cardiac patients, he was known as the "father of exercise cardiology".

Before the development of the Bruce Protocol there was no safe, standardized protocol that could be used to monitor cardiac function in exercising patients. Master's Two-Step Test was sometimes used, but it was too strenuous for many patients, and inadequate for the assessment of respiratory and circulatory function during varying amounts of exercise. Most physicians relied upon patients' complaints about exertion, and examined them only at rest.

To address these problems, Dr. Bruce and Dr. Paul Yu began work on developing a treadmill exercise test. The test made extensive use of relatively new technological developments in electrocardiographs and motorized treadmills.

A Bruce exercise test involved walking on a treadmill while the heart was monitored by an electrocardiograph with various electrodes attached to the body. Ventilation volumes and respiratory gas exchanges were also monitored, before, during and after exercise. Because the treadmill speed and inclination could be adjusted, this physical activity was tolerated by most patients.

Initial experiments involved a single-stage test, in which subjects walked for 10 minutes on the treadmill at a fixed workload. Bruce's first paper on treadmill exercise tests, published in 1949, analyzed minute-by-minute changes in respiratory and circulatory function of normal adults and patients with heart or lung ailments.

In 1950 Bruce joined the University of Washington, where he continued research on the single-stage test, particularly as a predictor of the success of surgery for valvular or congenital heart disease. Later he developed the multistage test, consisting of several stages of progressively greater workloads. It was this multistage test, a description of which was first published in 1963, that became known as the Bruce Protocol. In the initial paper, Bruce reported that the test could detect signs of such conditions as angina pectoris, a previous heart attack, or a ventricular aneurysm. Bruce his and colleagues also demonstrated that exercise testing was useful in screening apparently healthy people for early signs of coronary artery disease.

Other Treadmill Uses
As it is basically a conveyor belt, the treadmill can be used for activities other than running. If horses are being tested (especially in jockey racing) they will be put on a specially constructed treadmill. Large treadmills can also accommodate cars.

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