Surveys indicate that 80 per cent of office workers apologise for not sitting correctly-so are people the problem or the rule? Human behavior can`t be changed in the long term by standards and regulations if it clashes with their biological makeup. And all appeals, warnings or incentives are futile if the natural inclination isn`t. Therefore, it`s vital to accept our biological disposition as the basis for a new understanding of ergonomics.
The process of sitting in particular shows just how strongly biology governs our behavior. Despite all warnings and findings to the contrary, adults sit down whenever and wherever they have the opportunity, whether they`re tall or shot, fat or thin, young or old. It`s only children that actually have a natural inner urge to be on the go, so that physical active when it´s a question of self-defence. In the past, calories used to be in short supply and had to be burned up carefully. Consequently, the natural impulse to save physical energy played a key role in shaping civilisations progress. Everything that facilities life, by reducing the physical activity required, gains a firm foothold with the majority of the population. Examples include remote controls and using escalators or lifts. And that`s exactly where the problem lies…
A walker by nature...
… because to date, the approx. 50.000-year-old history of human beings has been shaped by demanding physical activity which hunting and gathering, feeling from danger, fighting, dancing, tilling the soil and selling ourselves for work… And we do all that on two legs. Evolutionary researchers believe that our upright posture is responsible for man`s special developmental history. Our distinct senses of balance, the enormous flexibility of our backs and above all the dexterity of our hands have opened up the path for us to develop tools. Therefore, nature has created the perfect conditions for human beings to get about on two legs and based all their biological preprocesses on this fact. Even 100 years ago, men were physically active for eight to ten hours a day on average. It wasn`t until mass motorization and (to an even greater extent) the emergence of computers over the last 20 years that this figure has now plummeted to 25 minutes a day. However, living and surviving with so little physical activity is not part of the blueprint and the natural regulatory systems of human beings.
… With muscles as the metabolic powerhouse
One of the keys to physical and mental health lies in simulation of the muscles, our principle metabolic organs. Because it sends stimuli, the metabolism requires movement, which our muscles are responsible for. As long as they simulated accordingly, around 60 million stimulus receptors in the body register and report the cell`s need for nutrients, therefore a distinction is made between nonpennate and pennate muscles. The first are-like biceps-linear and the latter need simulation from different directions. Only very few muscles act on their own. The complex way we move is a result of muscles interacting in large muscle loops and vice versa. Increasing complexity of movement means that more muscles are stimulated-and therefore supplied with nutrients. But the efficiency principle applies in the case too. Everything that isn`t used and moved regularly is not supplied adequately any more. Which is why we turn in our sleep about 40 to 60 times per night. In the long term, one-sided pressure and a lack of metabolic stimuli lead first to too much acidity, then to inflammation and subsequently to cells dying off prematurely.
In conjunction with back pain, the spine is cited as being poorly designed and the source of all evil. In reality it`s a masterpiece and guarantees our ability to walk upright. It`s supple, very strong, stable, but still flexible and above all protects the spinal cord and the nervous system-as long as it`s looked after and given what it needs. Its secret is that it consist of vertebrae that move against one another and which are designed like small joints and positioned between the discs. Similarly to a sponge, it is nurtured by applying and relaxing mechanical loads. Its strength and flexibility is guaranted by the muscles deep in the back, through small muscles that are applied directly to the vertebrae. They lend the espine its stability and flexibility. Without any muscles, the spine would probably break if it had to carry a load of five kilos. In other words, the problem doesn`t lie in a weak spine, but in today`s lifestyle that neglects the body`s natural regulatory and supply systems.
Until around 20 years ago, constant extreme or one-sided strain placed on the body was considered the chief reason for back pain and degenerative damaged to muscles and the skeleton. In some professions they still today, even where top athletes are concerned. Treatment followed suit by prescribing relaxation and avoidance tactics to ensure that joints and cartilage recovered, accompanied by passive therapies such as massages or issuing pain killers. Today it`s assumed that over 80 per cent of back pain is the direct cause of a lack of physical exercise. The muscles atrophy, joints and the spine are destabilized and pain increases. Treatment that is passive and seeks to remove all strain from the body becomes a part of the problem. Avoidance tactics and the type of treatment foster the cycle of pain. The result is chronic pain that can have a negative impact on life permanently.