Back pain is on the increase, our posture is suffering, and aches, pains and sprains have become the norm for the 48 million city dwellers in the UK. New research reveals that one of the hidden causes is urbanisation, flattening out our natural landscape into concrete city landscapes.
The “Flat is Bad” report, released today from MBT Physiological Footwear, looks at the health impact of our urban landscapes.
More than 264,157 miles of the UK is concrete pavement. Flattened towns and cities make up just 14.5% of the British Isles, but 80% of Brits live within these concrete jungles. In fact, over one third (37%) of the population claim they never walk on any kind of natural surface on a daily basis.
MBT and independent experts alert us that urbanisation severely disrupts our body’s natural balance, with a range of negative health impacts, such as:
Three quarters of us (71%) admit to poor posture, but the problem could be more extreme as 90% suffer posture related aches and pains. The report reveals that the flat surfaces we walk on rob us of any stimulus, preventing our muscles being used properly and leading to posture issues, painful joints and misalignment of the spine.
A Pain in the Neck
For a third (31%) of the population, neck or back pain is a DAILY problem and half of sufferers (51%) only deal with the problem by knocking back painkillers. And it’s starting early, with 40% saying the issue starts in their teens.
…and the Economy
Back pain accounts for 85% of work absenteeism - an astonishing £5billion of lost productivity .
Minor injuries are on the increase in the UK – with 300,000 people hospitalised each year , at a cost to British business of over £10.5 billion a year . However, one in ten of us don’t bother going to a doctor with minor injuries in case it’s seen as time wasting – but, left untreated, minor sprains and injuries develop in serious and recurring problems. Flat ground means our receptors in the feet and ankles responsible for balance, posture and muscle activity are unstimulated – making our bodies weaker and susceptible to injury.
75% of the UK doesn’t do enough exercise to create any real benefits and 80% don’t do anything at all.
Undressing in the Dark
This lack of activity is resulting in a confidence crisis. 42% of the UK is so ashamed of their bodies, that it is seriously disrupting social lives, and 93% would consider plastic surgery.
A quarter of all the exercise we do is on concrete. However, the unrelenting ground restricts the foot’s natural range of motion. Over time this can cause stiffness in the toe joints that can result in osteoarthritis and joint freeze!
Joshua Wies, Chartered Physiotherapist and Director of the MBT Academy, says:
“MBT is researching and developing ways we can ease the pain the flat world causes. The Flat is Bad report is one part of this research and looks in detail at the effects the urbanised world has on the human body.”
The full Flat is Bad Report details how to counteract the impact of flat with advice from MBT Academy Experts in the fields of physiotherapy, fitness, personally training, Pilates, podiatry, sports science and orthopaedic surgery.
MBTs are one way to alter the impact of the flat world as they create a surface that’s more like the natural terrain we were designed to walk on. They’ve been designed to help us walk as nature intended, turning the flat ground we walk on every day into an uneven surface, which challenges our muscles, making them work harder for a stronger, healthier body.
For copies of the report, expert advice, case studies or to arrange an interview with Joshua Weis or the rest of the MBT Academy, please contact:
Clare, Tallulah or Katie at Cow PR.
Tel: 020 7684 6969
The Flat is Bad report combines specially commissioned research with MyVoice of 1,050 people in the UK; government and health organisation statistics; plus insight and advice from physiotherapy, podiatry, sports science, complementary health and orthopaedic experts.
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