Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D.

Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D.

Eric is Founder and CEO at Germany based treadmill desk manufacturer Walkolution.

Recent posts by Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D.

1 min read

Why our bottom is not designed to sit

By Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D. on Feb 29, 2020 1:40:40 PM

Among all muscles, the glutes are distinct as we tend to care more about their physical appearance, especially with regard to the perception of our own attractiveness to others and our personal image of ourselves.

Studying the anatomy of the glutes, it becomes immediately clear that these muscle powerhouses were never meant to be squeezed between a chair and the weight of our upper body for hours on end. This starts with the skin. Areas of the body that are genetically designed to be in contact with the ground have a different skin composition. The best ex- ample are the soles of our feet, with calluses building up quickly and thick layers of brown fat cells to cushion the repetitive impact from walking. If the gluteal area had been designed to be in constant touch to the ground (or a chair), we would expect to see something comparable – yet nothing could be more different from the delicate skin of our buttocks.

Under the skin of the glutes lies a complicated layer of nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and bones that function in support of holding an up- right posture. In actuality, their continuously compressed state does the opposite and comes with its own unique set of issues.

When functioning properly, the glute muscles work with other muscles in the hips to help stabilise the pelvis. When shut off while seated, the body attempts to compensate for the instability through the use of oth- er muscles to keep the pelvis stable. This contributes to lower back and hip pain as the muscles that are in charge to flex the hip joint become tight and constantly pull the lower sections of the spine forward.

After years of abuse from sitting, the glute muscles can be damaged to the point that is referred to ‘gluteal amnesia,’ casually referred to as the‘dead butt syndrome,’ in which those muscles basically forget how to function due to lack of use, resulting in compromised blood flow and nerve damage. Take a moment to wake up your glutes and remind them on a daily basis how much you like and need them!

Topics: musculoskeletal
1 min read

Why Sitting Leads To Backpain

By Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D. on Feb 29, 2020 1:07:06 PM

Most of the muscular pain conditions from sitting results from ignorance of our core, which is a normally very well counterbalanced system of muscles, bones and structures that enable the rest of our body to maintain an upright posture when on our feet.

Simply put, after millions of years walking, we now spend most of the day sitting. When we sit – or more often, when we slouch – in a chair with back support, it removes the need for our abdominal muscles to remain active. As these muscles relax, the task of staying upright falls on the spine. The spine and supporting back muscles will do this job for quite a while, and by the time that it begins to cause consistent discomfort, damage has often progressed beyond the point of a cure and long-term pain sets in.

Sitting also changes the angle of the pelvis and hips, which work with the spine to create a strong, stable and upright posture that allows us to manipulate items with our hands, while standing or moving (Labelle et al., 2005; Roussouly & Pinheiro-Franco, 2011).

The spine is normally aligned in an S-like shape. When we begin changing the angle of the pelvis and hips by sitting for extended periods of time, we force the spine out of its usual shape and creating substantial shear forces at critical junctions, most prominent in the area of the cervical spine and lower back. It is by no coincidence that these are the very regions that are most affected by disc herniations and chronic back pain.

Topics: musculoskeletal
3 min read

Why I founded Walkolution

By Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D. on Feb 28, 2020 11:27:33 PM

Why have you stopped to work as a Doctor?

I never stopped. I am just using a different set of tools, because the instruments in the clinic are only treating symptoms, while the underlying insidious cause sadly keeps on working against us and remains untouched. I am talking about the chair and the sedentary lifestyle. A fundamental and fatal mistake in the history of our species.

4 min read

So you want to be an Intern in a Startup? A guide for prospective applicants.

By Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D. on Dec 27, 2019 4:42:08 AM

Welcome to the Death Zone

In mountaineering, the death zone refers to altitudes above a certain point where the amount of oxygen is insufficient to sustain human life for an extended time span. This point is generally tagged as 8,000 m (26,000 ft, less than 356 millibars of atmospheric pressure).[1] 

Topics: walkolution workplace entrepreneurship startup career internship
22 min read

Walking away from Diabetes

By Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D. on Sep 26, 2019 4:44:00 PM

 
An estimated 422 million people worldwide are affected by diabetes, with the global prevalence of the disease growing exponentially between 1980 and 2014 (from 4.7% to 8.5% of the global population). In 2015 alone, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. That’s equivalent to the entire country of Bahrain succumbing to the complications of the disease in a single year. Germany is already spending almost 20% on all healthcare related expenditures on the treatment of Diabetes type II.
Topics: health diabetes diabetes treatment workplace
7 min read

Sitting is bad for your brain- How sedentary behaviour affects our ability to learn.

By Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D. on Sep 25, 2019 4:29:00 PM

Image Source: Adobe Stock, Copyright Walkolution 2019

Thinkers survived

For millions of years, we moved. A lot. The human species still exist, because we were able to coordinate complex hand movements with rational thinking while being on our feet! Smart hunting techniques and the ability to build more or less complex shelters alongside movement are just a few examples, proving how much of a survival advantage it must have been to perform cognitive tasks while moving. This unique ability made us the ultimate predator in the animal kingdom and eventually lead to brain growth in the first place.

Topics: health movement cognitive function ADHD brain
4 min read

Walking as a natural remedy for ADHD

By Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D. on Sep 23, 2019 10:13:27 PM

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder increasingly diagnosed in childhood and adolescence and is characterized by one or more of the following characteristics: strong and difficult to suppress activity urge, difficulty concentrating, and impulsive behavior. ADHD has become the most frequently diagnosed behavioral disorder in childhood. In the USA, it is estimated that more than 2 million children of school age are affected (1,2). The incidence in children aged six to eleven is estimated to be around 7%. The current treatment options for ADHD are largely unsatisfactory as they offer only limited symptom relief and are often associated with severe side effects.(4)

Topics: movement cognitive function science ADHD brain learning
6 min read

Researchers link sedentary lifestyle with structural changes in the memory center

By Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D. on Sep 23, 2019 2:00:00 PM

Research in recent years has clearly shown that sitting is associated with a large number of actually preventable chronic diseases. The common basis of many of these diseases is the inability of the body to metabolize sugar and fats effectively during long periods of sitting.

Topics: sitting neuroscience inactivity exercise walkolution dementia memory improvement bdnf physical activity sedentary
5 min read

The most creative persons walk - Here is why

By Eric Söhngen, M.D., Ph.D. on Sep 20, 2019 4:22:00 PM

Visitors to Steve Jobs’ Palo Alto home or Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, were all too familiar with a habit that helped the Apple founder collect his thoughts and develop new ideas.

Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson didn’t know it when he first met Jobs, but he soon learned that Jobs would prefer to have serious conversations on long walks and so the most widely read biography of the Apple founder came about largely on walks. Jobs and chief designer Jony Ive were also frequently seen brainstorming on the Apple campus. Who knows, perhaps it was on these walks that the idea of the iPhone was born?

 

Mark Zuckerberg and Barack Obama are other well-known proponents of the “Walking Meeting