Calories and Scooter

We’ve all seen Wall-E, with a stout and lazy human race glued to floating screens while a hovering chair sends them wherever they need to go. Let’s flash back from the future to present day, where we have this electric balance scooter thing (we call them glyders). Some have postulated that these hoverboards are a step towards a Wallean dystopia, because it doesn’t promote an ‘active lifestyle.’ Well, let’s explore that.

People are breaking the Internet searching for top hoverboard vines, smart balance wheel reviews, the best hoverboard brands and companies, and even hoverboard fail compilations where people take swift and sometimes comical spills while learning to ride these crazy things.I’ve been using these feats of technology for a while now, and it’s safe to say that it’s hardly a floating Lay-Z-Boy. Even when I’m standing on it doing absolutely nothing, I can feel muscles firing and increased heart-rate. Not only that, but after I’ve been on my smart balance wheel for a while, my body definitely feels active, albeit sweat-free. So what’s really going on?

You may have seen ergonomic chairs that engage your body through small movements. This is called “active sitting” and there are many products out there that take advantage of this phenomenon. The principle is simple: it’s impossible to sit on them perfectly still, and they don’t rigidly support the body so you can never be completely at rest. The end result: multiple muscle groups are constantly firing in micro-movements, improving balance, circulation, and (you guessed it) burning more calories. According to DietHealthClub, active sitting burns about 50% more calories per hour than sitting in a standard-posture chair.

And here is some benefits expounded by Wikipedia: Since the individual is able to move in a controlled manner during active sitting, the body will strengthen postural muscles to maintain balance. This conditioning of the core muscles of the spine and trunk may significantly aid in preventing back pain. In turn, it is understood that movement lubricates and nourishes the spinal joints and intervertebral discs, keeping skeletal joints flexible and healthy.

This seems to be what is happening when I’m on my smart balance wheel, except standing instead of sitting. Standing on the two-wheeled self-balancing scooter is definitely more active than standing on the solid ground. It’s so fun, however, that I don’t notice how my body is constantly engaging with the hoverboard. Moving forward and backward requires continuous calf and lower leg muscle movements to maintain control. I tighten my core every single time I’m turning or rotating, because if I don’t, my body is just ‘flopping around’ and I’m more likely to lose control. After a couple hours of using the two-wheel balance scooter, I get hungry. These activities are all undetectable to the bystander.

Personally, I’d rather grab a salad and then glide to the beach than walk to the store for a Family Size bag of Doritos and polish off the whole thing on the couch in front of Netflix. Which I occasionally also do. I’m not perfect.

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