German healthcare insurance company DAK’s recent 2018 health report again
underscored how critical the problem of backache is for Germany’s businesses and
welfare system. The types of company health management schemes practised to date are
clearly falling short of the mark. Which is why office workers should be encouraged to
move about while sitting down already. A new study by the Centre for Health through Sport
and Physical Fitness (ZfG) at German Sport University Cologne verifies that compared
with a 2D dynamic office chair, the innovative sitting concept of the 3D dynamic IN office
chair significantly improves users’ metabolic processes, therefore effectively preventing
Bad Münder/Cologne, June 2018. Across the world, the increasing lack of physical
activity is considered one of the biggest challenges to health. In its 2018 fact sheet, the
World Health Organisation (WHO) believes that 25% of adults and a worrying 80% of
young people engage in too little physical activity.
Over the last few years, with the growing pace of digitalisation and its tools, movement has
been reduced to our fingers, two-dimensional desktops and touchscreen displays. And this
is having serious consequences on our health in Germany too: according to DAK,
musculoskeletal complaints are responsible for just under 22% of days lost to sickness.
Backache continues to be the number one health complaint with no signs of it abating (see
DAK 2018 Health Report) despite the fact that over the past few years companies have
increasingly been investing in health management schemes to make backs healthier. It’s
clearly not enough to offer extra fitness programmes. The goal must be to reintroduce
more movement into processes themselves instead – and that all starts when people are
sitting in front of their computers at desks.
The goal: to teach sitting to walk.
Office furniture manufacturer Wilkhahn and the Centre for Health through Sport and
Fitness at German Sport University Cologne have developed sitting kinematics called
Trimension®, which has already been patented several times, in order to encourage a
greater range of motion (or to allow people to be free-to-move). In this case, the range of
motion includes bending, stretching, tilting sideways and freely rotating pelvises, in other
words, movements that are also made while walking. The natural flexibility of the hips is
mobilised, the muscles deep in the back are stimulated and large muscle loops from the
ankles to the shoulder girdle are activated. This perfectly coordinated movement concept
ensures fluid movements in all directions and consistently allows the body to maintain its
centre of gravity. Two previous scientific studies that examined the ON office chair proved
that this innovative range of motion achieved better stimulation of the muscles and
improved powers of concentration.
More active metabolisms effectively prevent backache
In the latest study, the ZfG at German Sport University Cologne examined the “Impact of 3D Trimension Kinematics on
Dorsal Muscles, Range of Motion and Physical Activity” They looked at the results
achieved on the 3D dynamic IN chair compared with the 2D dynamic Neos, also made by
Wilkhahn and a multi-award-winning office chair with a conventional range of motion. New
measurement methods from the sports sciences were applied based on standardised
office working processes (static and dynamic) to examine metabolic activity in the
particularly important lumbar muscles. The range of motion actually used was also
measured and the test persons were requested to give their own subjective opinions about
both office chair models. The study demonstrates that the test persons used the whole
three-dimensional spectrum of motion that Trimension offers, which is much greater than
the 2D dynamic office chair. The alternation between tensing and relaxing muscles, which
is so important for muscle metabolism, is much more significant in the case of an IN office
chair than a comparable one. And last but not least, the test persons preferred the free-tomove
office chair to a conventional office chair across all criteria.
Conclusion drawn by the ZfG: dynamic sitting in the case of IN with Trimension has
been verified to lead to healthier lumbar muscles, which are so often affected by backache.
Tensing and relaxing muscles is vital, because less oxygenation occurs in muscles that are
constantly tensed up. So there’s a justifiable reason to assume that muscle-based
backache can be decreased.