Is it better to work out on a couch or an ergonomic chair? We asked Jakub Kudláček. He worked in IT. But now he works as an online fitness trainer and he teaches the right way to exercise
Jakub Kudláček is a dedicated athlete helping people with a sedentary job to get pain relief and gradually achieve a better physical condition. He draws on his experience of top-class sport (14 years playing hockey), on his own health problems (caused by a broken vertebra) and on five years of working in a leading IT company (after graduating from the Czech Technical University with a degree in Wireless Communication he went to work for IBM).
Most of his training sessions take place online on the Movegeen platform, so you can exercise whenever it is convenient for you – at work, at home or when on holiday.
Given that people are now working from home what would you recommend to them? Do you have a set of body maintenance exercises?
I would primarily recommend staying active, because it is known that the motivation to exercise at home falls very quickly. I would make use of the inexhaustible number of home exercises offered by the internet today. As regards healthy body maintenance exercises then that is what the Movegeen platform specialises in.
The “Body Hygiene” section is divided into the upper and lower half of the body and each always contains four exercises. The aim of this section is to protect the musculoskeletal system from the negative impact of a sedentary life.
Do you see a big problem now that people are mostly working from home and sitting on a couch or a kitchen chair which is far from being ergonomic?
There is no doubt that an ergonomic chair forms the basis and support for a healthy sitting posture, but in no way does it address the fact that we sit in such a chair for eight hours a day. I am convinced that a person will feel better sitting on a couch and getting up every hour to stretch and do the Body Hygiene exercises in the morning and evening than a person who sits in a non-ergonomic position in an ergonomic chair all day.
What is exercising with you look like in practice? Do you send users a video according to which they are to exercise, or do you exercise with them online via a video call?
There can be three options of rehabilitation exercises. The basic option is exercises according to a video platform. The second option is a combination of videos and chats where a person queries anything that is unclear. The third and most advance option is online exercising via video conferencing. The client follows the exercises, I follow the client and right exercise techniques, and the client can ask me about anything.
Do you offer chatbots – what specific advice will this communication robot give me?
Chatbot primarily fulfils an educational function. Any rehabilitation or compensation will be ineffective if you don’t know what part of the body you have to focus on and what could be the cause of the problem. In the first step the chatbot will determine where the pain or discomfort is. Then it provides information about that part of the body, typical problems and their possible solution and recommended exercises.
Why do you think the online approach is better than a visit to a “brick and mortar” fitness centre with a trainer?
I would not like to give preference to one approach over another because I think that a combination of both worlds can bring ideal results. But if focusing only on the online world, I see great added value in rehabilitation, compensation and stability, which is often overlooked by the trainer or there is not time left for this.
Most exercises can be done using your own weight or simple fitness aids such as a resistance rubber band or an ordinary tennis ball. A client can perform such training on his own in the comfort of his home with an online video and move his training to a higher level.
But isn’t it better to go out for a jog than to exercise at home according to a computer?
I am a great advocate of outdoor exercise, so I agree with you, and truly recommend exercise under an open sky to everyone. Nevertheless, we again return to the fact that just jogging and sitting at work is not ideal and in my view can sometimes even be harmful.
You can loosen a stiff and inflexible body without any problem by jogging, but in the long term you are asking for ankle, knee, lumbar and thoracic spinal trouble… Here I see the added value of technology in the form of online consultation with a specialist or videos for compensation exercises.
You work for companies like Skanska or Business Link – what are people most interested in?
Skanska and Business Link are perfect examples of employee care. The greatest interest is in compensation exercise aimed at a sedentary and inactive lifestyle. This is not typical fitness training to build up the muscles or lose that extra weight. It is about feeling better, having a pain-free and functional body after sitting all day.
Do more women than men exercise?
I have no precise statistics, but definitely more women. In my case it is about the type of exercise. Women generally are more interested it taking care of their body in terms of health than men who prefer the physical aspect. It is often a matter of the trend, which shows people the way. Currently the trend is changing from “I want to look good” to “I want to look good, but also feel good”, which could balance out the female-male ratio.
Do you have any recipe for how to begin with regular exercise and keep exercising?
First of all, it is important that everyone finds an exercise that they enjoy. Other important aspects are regularity and a clear goal which you want to reach. I would begin gradually with two training sessions a week and a clearly defined place and time for training. I often tell my clients to look on training as their personal body hygiene which I do automatically every day, in the same way as brushing my teeth or having a shower in the morning.