Office fitness – quite incidentally
Office work is not necessarily synonymous with exercise and fitness. And yet special surfaces that encourage movement make them both possible. They activate the calf and foot muscles including the ankles and help to prevent fatigue. In other words: fitness and exercise – quite incidentally.
More exercise reduces health risks
Sitting is as bad as smoking, thus putting office work on the same level as one of the greatest health risks. Nor is this claim all that absurd: after all, sitting for hours has many negative effects on the back, blood vessels, heart and inner organs. There is a risk of various diseases such as diabetes or cancer, and sitting can also be detrimental to life expectancy.
So what can the millions of people do who earn their living in an office? Perhaps you've already come across the concept of dynamic standing/sitting? In addition there are also many other possibilities for encouraging more movement and exercise in the office workplace, without even having to leave the office. Standing not only becomes more pleasant but also makes us fitter: good for body and soul.
Special floor mats are an excellent choice for this purpose. They are roughly half a square metre in size and are laid out at the sit-stand desk.
Quality criteria include high stability at the same time as being flexible to handle. The floor mat should be easy to shift in position. A resilient, elastic foam stepping area is just as beneficial as a robust surface.
On the inside of some of the mats, there is a 3-D structure with small peaks and depressions which gives the impression of standing and walking on natural terrain, such as walking on the forest floor.
While standing on these floor mats, the inner structure thereby creates an almost imperceptible, additional instability that stimulates the body to make compensatory movements. Essentially, the use of movement-inducing floor mats avoids static standing, thereby preventing muscle fatigue and swelling of the legs. The subconscious postural change transforms stationary standing into active standing.
Here experts refer to the random activation of reflex zones and the sensory system. Many small, deep muscles in the feet, legs and torso have to contract and relax all the time to hold the body in balance.
These additional micro and macro movements have a verifiably positive impact on health: better circulation, more venous activity in the legs, more active metabolism. Another positive effect consists in improved concentration levels in the workplace, with delayed onset of fatigue symptoms.
Another possibility for more movement in the standing and sitting workplace consists of a so-called activation board. This is a corrugated floor plate with special material characteristics to give it a certain flexibility. When someone stands on it, it automatically triggers safe, simple movement.
Walking on the spot becomes child's play because the same muscle groups are activated as when we walk. The benefits include all the positive effects of walking normally. All muscular chains in the body are triggered, from head to foot. Experts use the expression tensegrity model in this context.
Our body is a clever system of muscular chains, stabilising ligaments and intelligent joint systems that all work together. If individual groups of muscles or parts of muscles are damaged or weakened, this causes muscular dysbalance. The otherwise smooth cooperation between the body structures no longer works.
The activation board counteracts muscular dysbalance. The tilting movements are adjusted in such careful doses that no-one loses balance.
In the commercial sector, the use of appropriate mats or boards should be clarified with the responsible safety specialist of the company before use.