Study of KTU scientists: balance sitting reduces the probability of health problems
In today's society people more and more are talking about benefits of physical activity because the decline of it becomes a global health problem. A study in 2012 year showed that physical inactivity is ranked among the top 10 (out of 67) factors which cause the highest risk for health. Physical inactivity can lead to cardiovascular and circulatory diseases. Study of KTU (Kaunas University of Technology) scientists showed that balance sitting can reduce risks arising from lack of physical activity.
Physical activity is gaining increased importance due to the prevalence of sedentary work. Companies are looking for ways in order to take care of employees’ health and boost their productivity. Balance sitting is identified as one of the preventive measures when ordinary chairs are replaced by balance chairs or physiotherapy balls.
The ever-rising questions about balance sitting - whether it is really useful, or just a matter of fashion – scientists of KTU encouraged to find out its effects on human health.
In cooperation with the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU), KTU scientists conducted a 6 weeks long study in renewed Biomechatronics laboratory of Mechatronics Institute. The main objective of the study was to find out how posture and trunk muscle activity are changing while sitting on balance chairs, such as “Thatsit balans”, “Back app” and “Humantool” balance seat. The latest equipment was used during study: 3D motion analysis system “Qualisys” and electromiograph “Noraxon”.
Before the study, participants knew little about the correct sitting, so results were more accurate. After 6 weeks, participants, who had been sitting on balance chairs, back position became more correct (participant was less slumped) than sitting on a simple chair. Balance sitting also activates deep muscles, which are the main back stabilizers. Deep muscles ensure proper posture, are responsible for equilibrium and flexibility.
Evaluation of all used chairs during study showed that most positive impact for participants’ health was made by “Humantool” balance seat. Due to special basis, this seat can be used on any type of chairs. In this way, the balance sitting becomes available to everyone – both in companies and at home. Special exercises on the balance seat could help to maintain physical activity during the whole sitting time. Also, exercises are reinforcing the positive effect of this seat.
“The conducted research has shown that ergonomic sitting devices are not only comfortable, but also helps to increase physical activity and reduce the likelihood of health problems. Persons, who take care of their health, should pay attention that ergonomic workplace is important to create not only at work, but also at home”, - summarizes the results the head of Biomechatronics laboratory Aurelijus Domeika from KTU Institute of Mechatronics.
According to the scientist, parents should form a correct sitting skills for their children already at a young age, especially to those who spend a lot of time by the computer. Due to education and appropriately selected preventive measures, chronic diseases could be stopped.
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