Mankind VS Machine

Dec 20, 2017

With an increased recognition of apparently harmless occupational motions actually becoming

injurious when executed in either high repetitions and or with excessive force has made the term ergonomics nearly a household term. Yet if this term remains vague or unfamiliar to you, the Webster definition

describes ergonomics as an applied science concerned with designing tools and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely. With 2018 upon us, I anticipate this

conversation might have greater interest if we consider how this science might apply to our holiday activity and perhaps to those whom might be thinking of health related New Year’s resolutions. In the following

examples I will apply Webster’s definition per above to apparently harmless and even “health promoting”


Per wikipedia:  An elliptical trainer or cross-trainer is a stationary exercise machine used to simulate stair climbing, walking, or running without causing excessive pressure to the joints, hence decreasing the risk of impact

injuries. For this reason, people with some injuries can use an elliptical to stay fit, as the low impact affects them little; (don’t be so sure).Yet in reality the extensive array of articulations within the healthy human body let alone the vast majority of persons whom have personal wear and tear restraints to normal movement are literally forced to either conform or rather contort themselves to a constant cycle of a one repetitious motion. So yes, while it is much less weight bearing impact than jogging on concrete it potentially harbors subtle shear

forces that leave a person both in pain and  confused by what was thought to be helpful. Keep in mind; some machines are created more user friendlier than others.

Per wikipedia:  A treadmill is a device generally for walking or running or climbing while staying in the same place. The belt moves to the rear, requiring the user to walk or run at a speed matching that of the belt. According to Sports & Fitness Industry Association, treadmills continue to be the largest selling exercise equipment category by a large margin. While use of a treadmill has its advantages especially if winter ever gets here, my concern to share is a key

muscle group that contributes to postural as well as respiratory support are the hip extensors (Gluts or buttocks). Normal walking on earth requires the leg and foot touching the ground to pull your body forward vs. being pulled forward into each new step, thus preserving this muscle groups intended role and therefore not only contributing to healthy posture and breathing but also normal walking mechanics. Speaking of breathing and walking, your oxygen intake is much higher when exercising in nature versus exercising inside a gym. You burn more calories exercising outside! Can you lose fat by breathing? If you follow the atoms in 10 kilograms of fat as they are 'lost', 8.4 of those kilograms are exhaled as carbon dioxide through the lungs. The remaining 1.6 kilograms becomes water, which may be excreted in urine, feces, sweat, breath, tears and other bodily fluids, the authors report ( does oxygen burn fat? Researchers find 80 percent of body fat leaves via the lungs. Human fat cells store triglyceride—a type of fat in the blood—which is made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These atoms are released through oxidation and when that happens, fat is burned off.

If you read this far and are wondering how on earth your buttocks contribute to healthy breathing, please read my prior blog titled: Inverted Core Syndrome (at This existence is prevalent in our society and we are all inherently susceptible to it. The most common buzz words in therapy and gyms are core strengthening, yet frequently is being misapplied.

The point of this blog is there is often more to the investment of our bodies than meets the eye. Being informed offers peace of mind that your good intentions will not be thwarted. If you have any questions pertaining to your movement health or fitness goals, allow Healing Motion Physical Therapy to assist in fulfilling all that you hope for in terms of wellbeing in 2018 and beyond.