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United States Patent Application 20160256736
Kind Code A1
Harada; John ;   et al. September 8, 2016

EXERCISE DEVICE

Abstract

A footrest device for supporting and exercising a user's feet and legs. The footrest device includes a pair of footrests that are pivotally connected to the opposed ends of a rigid elongated member, which is suspended by a non-rigid suspension member. The footrests are pivotally connected to the rigid elongated member. The footrest device can be suspended from a fixed object, such as the underside of a desk. Alternatively, the footrest device can include, and be suspended from, a mobile base that is positioned on the floor.


Inventors: Harada; John; (Kailua, HI) ; Godoy; John; (Chicago, IL)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Harada; John
Godoy; John

Kailua
Chicago

HI
IL

US
US
Assignee: Active Ideas LLC
Chicago
IL

Family ID: 1000001957524
Appl. No.: 15/155775
Filed: May 16, 2016


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
14792999Jul 7, 2015
15155775
62032698Aug 4, 2014
62062251Oct 10, 2014

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63B 23/03525 20130101; A47C 7/506 20130101; A63B 21/1609 20151001; A63B 23/10 20130101; A63B 21/02 20130101
International Class: A63B 23/035 20060101 A63B023/035; A63B 21/16 20060101 A63B021/16; A63B 23/10 20060101 A63B023/10; A47C 7/50 20060101 A47C007/50; A63B 21/02 20060101 A63B021/02

Claims



1. A suspended footrest device for suspension from a fixed location, the footrest device comprising: a pair of footrests; a rigid elongated member extending between the footrests, the elongated member having a pair of opposed ends and a medial section, each of the footrests being pivotally connected to a respective one of the ends of the elongated member, each of the footrests and the respective end of the elongated member being pivotally connected to each other to permit pivoting movement therebetween along at least two axes of rotation; and at least one flexible and non-rigid suspension member having a first end connected to the medial section of the elongated member, and a second end connected to the fixed location for suspension of the footrest device therefrom, the suspension member having a length of 28 inches or less; whereby the elongated member extends laterally outwardly from the first end of the suspension member and terminates at the opposed ends thereof which are connected to the footrests, the elongated member being configured to rotate about the medial section thereof.

2. The suspended footrest device of claim 1 including a ball-and-socket joint connected between each footrest and the respective end of the elongated member to allow pivotal movement between each footrest and the elongated member.

3. The suspended footrest device of claim 1 wherein the suspension member is inelastic.

4. The suspended footrest device of claim 1 including a rotatable turntable connected between each footrest and the respective end of the elongated member to allow rotational movement between each footrest and the elongated member.

5. The suspended footrest device of claim 2 including a damper positioned between each footrest and the respective end of the elongated member for dampening the pivotal movement of the ball-and-socket joint.

6. The suspended footrest device of claim 1 wherein the suspension member includes a length of a thin bendable strap that is biased to be in a flat and untwisted state, whereby the strap is used to bias the orientation of the elongated member and footrests in front of a user so that the user's feet approximately line up with the footrests when the strap is in an untwisted state.

7. The suspended footrest device of claim 1 wherein the suspension member includes a quick-release mechanism to disconnect the footrest device from the fixed location from which the footrest device is being suspended.

8. The suspended footrest device of claim 1 wherein the suspension member is elastic.

9. The suspended footrest device of claim 1 including a movement tracker for tracking the movement of the footrests, the movement tracker being configured to transmit an electrical data signal containing information about the movement of the footrests.

10. The suspended footrest device of claim 1 wherein the length of the suspension member is adjustable.

11. A footrest device comprising: a pair of footrests; a rigid elongated member having a pair of opposed ends and a medial section, each of the footrests being pivotally connected to a respective one of the ends of the elongated member; at least one flexible and non-rigid suspension member having a first end connected to the elongated member, and a second end connected to a stand for suspension of the footrest device therefrom; and the stand including a base for placement on a floor surface, the stand further including a cantilevered strut connected to the base and extending upwardly therefrom, the strut further extending over the base whereby the stand can withstand, and not tip over from, a downward force on an end of the strut, and the second end of the suspension member being connected to the end of the strut.

12. The footrest device of claim 11 including a rotatable turntable connected between each footrest and the respective end of the elongated member to allow rotational movement between each footrest and the elongated member.

13. The footrest device of claim 11 wherein the first end of the suspension member is connected to the medial section of the elongated member.

14. The footrest device of claim 11 including a ball-and-socket joint connected between each footrest and the respective end of the elongated member to allow pivotal movement between each footrest and the elongated member.

15. The footrest device of claim 11 wherein the suspension member is inelastic.

16. The footrest device of claim 11 wherein the suspension member includes a length of a thin bendable strap that is biased to be in a flat and untwisted state, whereby the strap is used to bias the orientation of the elongated member and footrests in front of a user so that the user's feet approximately line up with the footrests when the strap is in an untwisted state.

17. The footrest device of claim 11 wherein the suspension member includes a quick-release mechanism to disconnect the elongated member and footrests from the end of the strut.

18. The footrest device of claim 11 wherein the suspension member has a length of 18 inches or less.

19. The footrest device of claim 11 including a movement tracker for tracking the movement of the footrests, the movement tracker being configured to transmit an electrical data signal containing information about the movement of the footrests.

20. The footrest device of claim 11 wherein the length of the suspension member is adjustable.
Description



CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/792,999, filed Jul. 7, 2015, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 62/032,698, which was filed on Aug. 4, 2014, and U.S. Provisional Application 62/062,251, which was filed on Oct. 10, 2014, the disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention pertains to an exercise device. More particularly, the present invention pertains to a suspended exercise device which a user places his or her feet upon to exercise while sitting down. The exercise device can be suspended from a fixed object, or can suspend from a mobile base.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] The mental and physical health benefits of exercise are well known. The physical benefits include reduced risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Additionally, extended periods of time spent working at a desk or studying may be harmful if that activity is an impediment to the amount of exercise that one can get each day. It has been shown that not moving while working or studying at a desk may cause postural fixity, which is the static loading of the musculoskeletal system. Postural fixity may cause back, neck, shoulder and other pain. Extended periods of time spend sitting at a desk can also lead to obesity when paired with a poor diet because the individual is simply not burning calories to inactivity.

[0006] The mental health benefits of exercise include reduced depression and anxiety, and improved psychological well-being.

[0007] In the prior art there exists various exercise devices which can be used with a desk and/or a desk chair. However, each of these devices requires active participation and focus from the user. In this respect, these devices may be a distraction to the user while the user is attempting to study or work. Thus, the act of exercising is still in conflict with the user's study or work.

[0008] There remains a need for an exercise device which can be used as an "unconscious" device in which the user does not necessarily have to perform active exercises in order to reap the benefits of the device. This type of device would allow the user to burn calories while they are not actively exercising.

[0009] The present invention, as detailed hereinbelow, seeks to fill this need by providing a suspended footrest device which can be easily installed in any suitable location and used either actively or passively to provide movement and exercise to a user in a seated position.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention provides a suspended footrest device comprising: (a) a pair of footrests; (b) a rigid elongated member having a pair of opposed ends and a medial section, each of the footrests being pivotally connected to a respective one of the ends of the elongated member; (c) a ball-and-socket joint connected between each footrest and the respective end of the elongated member to allow pivotal movement between each footrest and the elongated member; and (d) at least one a non-rigid suspension member having a first end connected to the rigid elongated member, and a second end connected to a fixed location for suspension of the footrest device therefrom.

[0011] Optionally, the suspended footrest device can include a rotatable turntable connected between each footrest and the respective end of the rigid elongated member to allow rotational movement between each footrest and the rigid elongated member.

[0012] Optionally, the first end of the suspension member is connected to the medial section of the elongated member.

[0013] The suspension member may be either elastic or inelastic, and may have a length of 28 inches or less.

[0014] The suspended footrest can also optionally include a damper positioned between each footrest and the respective end of the rigid elongated member for dampening the pivotal movement of the ball-and-socket joint.

[0015] According to another embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a suspended footrest device comprising: (a) a pair of footrests; (b) a rigid elongated member having a pair of opposed ends and a medial section, each of the footrests being pivotally connected to a respective one of the ends of the elongated member; and (c) at least one flexible and non-rigid suspension member having a first end connected to the elongated member, and a second end connected to a fixed location for suspension of the footrest device therefrom, the suspension member including a length of a thin bendable strap that is biased to be in a flat and untwisted state, whereby the strap is used to bias the orientation of the elongated member and footrests in front of a user so that the user's feet approximately line up with the footrests when the strap is in an untwisted state.

[0016] According to yet another embodiment of the present invention, there is provided: (a) a pair of footrests; (b) a rigid elongated member having a pair of opposed ends and a medial section, each of the footrests being pivotally connected to a respective one of the ends of the elongated member; (c) at least one flexible and non-rigid suspension member having a first end connected to the elongated member, and a second end connected to a stand for suspension of the footrest device therefrom; and (d) the stand including a base for placement on a floor surface, the stand further including a cantilevered strut connected to the base and extending upwardly therefrom, the strut further extending over the base whereby the stand can withstand, and not tip over from, a downward force on an end of the strut, and the second end of the suspension member being connected to the end of the strut.

[0017] For a more complete understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings. In the drawings, like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the views in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the present invention hereof;

[0019] FIG. 2 is a front view of the first embodiment of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 3 is an enlarged front view showing one embodiment of the footrest being pivotally connected to an end of the elongated member;

[0021] FIG. 4 is an enlarged front view showing another embodiment of the footrest being pivotally connected to an end of the elongated member;

[0022] FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing a second embodiment of the invention in which the footrests are suspended directed from a support member that is connected to the user's chair;

[0023] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the invention showing the footrests being suspended by a mobile stand; and

[0024] FIG. 7 is a side view of an alternate embodiment of the invention showing the footrests being suspended by the mobile stand.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0025] In accordance with the present invention and as shown generally in FIGS. 1 and 2, there is provided a suspended footrest device 10 comprising: (a) a pair of footrests 12a,12b ; (b) a rigid elongated member 14 having a pair of opposed ends 16a,16b and a medial section 18, each of the footrests 12a,12b being pivotally connected to a respective one of the ends 16a,16b of the elongated member 14; and (c) a non-rigid suspension member 20 having a first end 22 connected to the medial section 18 of the rigid elongated member 14, and a second end 24 connected to a fixed location F for suspension of the footrest device 10 therefrom.

[0026] The footrests 12a,12b include a rigid base platform 26 and are dimensioned to receive the feet of the user. The base platform 26 is preferably thin and planar and formed from a substantially rigid material, such as wood, metal, a plastic polymer, or the like. Each footrest 12a,12b can optionally include a top layer 28 having a pliable material for cushioning the user's feet which may or may not be contoured to the shape of a foot or a shoe. Any suitable type of pliable material that is well-known in the art can be used for the top layer 28. Optionally, each footrest 12a,12b can also include guide rails 30 along the front, back, or sides of each footrest 12a,12b to help the user keep his or her feet squarely positioned on each footrest 12a,12b.

[0027] In addition, each footrest 12a,12b can optionally include a bumper (not shown) formed from an elastomeric material along the front, back, or sides of the each footrest 12a,12b to keep the footrests 12a,12b from damaging any items or creating distracting noise when the footrests 12a,12b contact other items near the user.

[0028] The elongated member 14 is a strut-like component that extends between the footrests 12a,12b, and is provided to connect the footrests 12a,12b to the non-rigid suspension member 20. The elongated member 14 has a pair of opposed ends 16a,16b and a medial section 18. Each of the footrests 12a,12b is pivotally connected to a respective one of the ends 16a,16b of the elongated member 14. The footrest 12a,12b are pivotally connected to the respective ends 16a,16b along at least axis of rotation, and preferably along at least two axes of rotation. The elongated member 14 can be formed from any suitable type of material, such as wood, metal, a plastic polymer, and so forth. The elongated member 14 can also have any suitable type of geometry, such as being solid or hollow, as well as having any suitable cross-sectional shape (e.g., triangular, rectangular, circular, etc.). As discussed further below, the medial section 18 of the elongated member 14 is connected to the non-rigid suspension member 20 for suspending the footrests 12a,12b.

[0029] Each of the opposed ends 16a,16b of the elongated member 14 are pivotally connected to a respective one of the footrests 12a,12b. More specifically, a bottom surface 32 of each base platform 26 is pivotally connected to the respective end 16a,16b of the elongated member 14.

[0030] The ends 16a,16b of the elongated member 14 can optionally each include a roller (not shown) to help eliminate any damaging contact between the side of the footrest 12a,12b or the end 16a,16b against the side of a desk or any other item.

[0031] Optionally, the footrests 12a,12b can also include means for moving the footrests 12a,12b out of the way of the user. For example, the footrests 12a,12b can include magnets (not shown) at the front or bottom of each footrest so that the user can store the footrest device 10 against a magnetic surface which can be placed wherever as desired by the user.

[0032] As shown best in FIG. 3, the suspended footrest device 10 can optionally include a ball-and-socket joint 34 connected between each footrest 12a,12b and the respective end 16a,16b of the elongated member 14 to allow the pivotal movement. A ball-and-socket joint is well-known to those having ordinary skill in the art, and it provides multi-axis movement of the footrest with respect to the elongated member 14. More specifically, and as shown best in FIG. 1, the ball-and-socket joint 34 allows each footrest 12a,12b to pivot front-to-back (about the x axis), side-to-side (about they axis), and also rotate (about the axis). Any suitable type of ball-and-socket joint which is commercially available can be used.

[0033] A damper 36 may optionally be positioned between each footrest 12a,12b and the respective end 16a,16b of the elongated member 14 for dampening the pivotal movement of the ball-and-socket joint 34. Any suitable type of damper can be used. For example, and as shown in FIG. 4, the damper 36 can comprise a resiliently flexible elastomer that surrounds the ball-and-socket joint 34 and provides a moderate amount of resistance to movement by the ball-and-socket joint 34. And as shown in FIG. 3, the damper 36 can also comprise a plurality of elastomeric bumpers positioned at various locations around the ball-and-socket joint 34. The damper 36 can be positioned or designed so that it can dampen the movement of the ball-and-socket joint 34 in one axis, two axes, or three axes (i.e., the x,y, and axes as shown in FIG. 1). Preferably, the damper 36 dampens the movement of the ball-and-socket joint 34 along the x and y axes.

[0034] In addition to the ball-and-socket joint 34, a rotatable turntable 38 can be connected between each footrest 12a,12b and the respective end 16a,16b of the elongated member 14 to allow rotational movement about the axis between each footrest 12a,12b and the elongated member 14. Any suitable type of rotatable turntable can be used. Preferably, the rotatable turntable 38 includes a circular track and ball bearings to facilitate smooth and low-resistance rotational movement.

[0035] It is to be understood that either the ball-and-socket joint 34 or the rotatable turntable 38 can be used, as well as possibly both the ball-and-socket joint 34 and the rotatable turntable 38 (as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4). When both are used, the rotatable turntable 38 is preferably connected directly to the bottom surface 32 of the base platform 26 and the ball-and-socket joint 34 is preferably connected directly to the end of the elongated member 14. The bottom of the rotatable turntable 38 and the top (socket) of the ball-and-socket joint 34 are then connected directly to each other.

[0036] There is also provided at least one suspension member 20 having a first end 22 connected to the elongated member 14, and a second end 24 connected to a fixed location F for suspension of the footrest device 10 therefrom. Preferably the first end 22 is connected to the medial section 18 of the elongated member 14. The suspension member 20 can be either rigid or non-rigid, but preferably the suspension member 20 is non-rigid. When the suspension member 20 is rigid, it is flexibly connected at the ends 22,24 to both the elongated member 14 and the fixed location F to allow free-hanging movement of the footrests 12a,12b from the fixed location F.

[0037] The suspension member 20 can be formed from any suitable type of material, including but not limited to, a rigid bar, a non-rigid cable, a rope, a non-rigid length of a polymeric material, a chain, a strap, and so forth. As shown in FIG. 1, preferably the suspension member includes a length of a thin bendable strap that is biased to be in a flat and untwisted state. In other words, when a weighted object is suspended by the strap then the strap will quickly rotate and untwist itself due to the geometry of the strap being thin and flat and having a width that is significantly greater than the thickness thereof. The strap is used to bias the orientation of the elongated member and footrests in front of a user so that the user's feet approximately line up with the footrests when the strap is in an untwisted state.

[0038] The suspension member 20 may be either elastic or inelastic. That is, the suspension member 20 may be stretchable or have a fixed length, as well as have different elastic and inelastic sections. The suspension member 20 can also have an adjustable length using any suitable type of mechanism that is well-known in the art.

[0039] The suspension member 20 may optionally include a quick-release mechanism 23 to allow the footrest device 10 to be quickly and easily removed from the fixed location F when it is desired. Any suitable type of quick-release mechanism that is well-known in the art can be used herewith, including a buckle, clasp, and so forth.

[0040] As mentioned above, the second end 24 of the suspension member 20 is connected to a fixed location F. The "fixed location F" is intended to encompass any peripheral structure from which the suspended footrest can be supported and suspended. For example, when the suspended footrest device 10 is used at a desk, the fixed location F can be the bottom surface 32 of the desktop. Desks and tables are typically about 28-30 inches high, and it is understood that the suspension member 20 should therefore preferably be about 28 inches or less in length when suspended from the bottom side of a desktop. The second end 24 of the suspension member 20 can be secured to the fixed location F using any suitable type of means for securing, such as an adhesive, a clamp, a mechanical device (e.g., a hook, an eye bolt, screws), and so forth.

[0041] There is also provided an alternate embodiment of the present invention in which the footrests suspend from a mobile stand 50 which is provided as part of the footrest device. As shown in FIGS. 6-7, the stand 50 includes a base 52 which is placed on a floor surface. Preferably the base 52 is a thin planar plate that is positioned flush on the floor. In this regard, the base 52 is not a trip hazard and any other desirable item can be placed over the base 52 such as a rug or a chair mat.

[0042] The stand 50 includes a cantilevered strut 54 connected to the base 52 that extends upwardly therefrom. The strut 54 further extends back over the base 52 so that the stand 50 can withstand, and not tip over from, a downward force on an end of the strut 54. The suspension member 20 is connected to, and suspends from, the end 56 of the strut 54. The base 52 can be made using any suitable type of rigid construction material, such as wood, metal, a polymer, or the like. According to this embodiment, the suspension member 20 is preferably about 18 inches or less in length.

[0043] Alternatively, and as shown in FIG. 5, the suspended footrest device 10 can include a rigid elongated support member 40 having a first end 42 and a second end 44 from which the suspension member 20 can be attached. In one embodiment, the first end 42 is rigidly connected to a leg L of a chair, and the second end 44 is connected to the second end 24 of the non-rigid suspension member 20. The support member 40 shown in FIG. 5 extends 16a,16b directly from the leg L of the chair to the suspension member 20 as a substantially straight member. However, the support member 40 can have any suitable shape or geometry. For example, the support member 40 could have an arcuate shape in which the support member 40 extends 16a,16b away from the chair and then arcs upwardly and back toward the chair so that the support member 40 does not interfere with the user's legs or feet. The footrests 12a,12b and the elongated member 14 are thus suspended by the rigid elongated support member 40 and the non-rigid suspension member 20. In this regard, the suspended footrest device 10 can be moved along with the user's chair.

[0044] The support member 40 can also optionally include an extendable section 46 at one of the ends 16a,16b to allow the second end 44 to be temporarily moved (such as during an active exercise or during a particular movement by the user). The extendable section 46 can include a spring (not shown) or other suitable type of biasing device for returning the extendable section 46 back to its retracted position.

[0045] The suspended footrest device 10 is designed as an unconscious exercise device. This means that when a user puts his or her feet on the footrests 12a,12b while they are suspended, the user will need to make small adjustments of his or her body in order to keep the suspended footrest device 10 in a neutral position. In order to do this, the user may apply small amounts of force in a multitude of directions, however the movements are so small that there will be only a small degree of physical movement visible to the naked eye.

[0046] The suspended footrest device 10 is an instability exercise apparatus upon which the user or exerciser places his or her feet and is forced unconsciously to stabilize their feet thereby creating small muscular contractions. In this regard, the user is not distracted from his or her work or study by consciously thinking about the exercise. Rather, the user gets exercise from the suspended footrest device 10 simply by controlling the position of his or her feet and legs on the footrests 12a,12b during use.

[0047] In addition, the footrest device 10 can also optionally include at least one movement tracker 48 for tracking the movement of the footrests. The movement tracker 48 can include at least one accelerometer or other electromechanical devices for detecting and measuring movement and generating an electrical data signal that correlates to the movement of the footrests. The movement tracker 48 includes a transmitter for transmitting the electrical data signal including information about the movement of the footrests. Data from these measuring devices is transmitted to a computer-readable software program which can be designed to record the amount of movement by the user and calculate the total number of calories burned, equivalent miles walked, and so forth. Preferably, the software can be fed live movement data using Bluetooth.RTM. or other similar type of wireless communication. The computer-readable software program can operate on a computer, a tablet, a mobile phone, a watch, or any other suitable type of computing device, including those which have not yet been developed as of the time that this patent application was filed.

[0048] According to the invention described above, an exercise device is provided which can be used as an "unconscious" device in which the user does not necessarily have to perform active exercises in order to reap the benefits of the device.

[0049] As is apparent from the preceding, there is provided a suspended footrest device which can be easily installed in any suitable location and used either actively or passively to provide movement and exercise to a user in a seated position.

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