In conversation: Michaela Gerg, former German ski racer
Michaela Gerg is one of the most successful German ski racers. She ended her active racing career in 1996, but remained true to winter sports: with her own ski school in Lenggries. The dedicated former top athlete offers courses there for all ages and all levels. She wants to pass on her enthusiasm for snow sports and awaken the fun of exercise. She is also involved in her foundation Schneekristalle and is in demand as a speaker and Feng Shui consultant.
Sitting around quietly is nothing for Michaela Gerg. She also relies on a lot of movement in her everyday life. Michaela Gerg privately owns the "most active chair in the world", a Swopper from Aeris. We wanted to know from the multiple World Cup winner and successful Olympic participant whether she sees particular advantages in active sitting as an athlete and whether everyday mobility also has positive effects on regeneration.
Ms. Gerg, as a former ski racer you were used to training for hours every day. How do you keep fit today and how do you ensure you get enough exercise in your everyday life?
Today, I practice sports without constraint. Instead of focusing almost exclusively on winter sports - as I did before - it is now a wide variety of sports that are on my agenda. I love practicing yoga, for example. It's a great way to train my physical and mental flexibility. I love to be out in nature, whether hiking in the mountains or jogging and cycling. I am also an avid golfer.
80% of Germans suffer from back pain. How does that look for you? Are you free of back pain due to regular training and your well-trained muscles?
I had a lot of problems towards the end of my career with the Lumbar spine. You could say it was a mild herniated disc. Yoga and a conscious approach to everyday life help me today to keep my back fit and, above all, pain-free.
You know the Aeris Swopper 3D active chair, which has been developed to combat back problems and encourage more movement. How would you describe sitting on the Aeris Swopper in your own words?
Active sitting on the Aeris Swopper allows me to spend my hours at the desk in a way that is easy on my back. By constantly moving slightly, my back muscles are strengthened and I don't fall into a rigid hunched back posture. Lazily slouching into the stool is now a thing of the past.
The Aeris Swopper was initially considered a "health chair", primarily for the relief of acute back pain. Today, it has been recognized that it is not only good for the back due to its unique 3D flexibility, but also has positive effects on the entire metabolism by promoting movement. Headlines such as "Sitting can kill you" and "Sitting is the new smoking" have increased awareness of this feature. Sitting for long periods of time - how harmful do you think it really is?
I am always careful with such generalizing statements and prefer to listen to what my body tells me in such situations. However, I generally believe that any one-sided movement without compensation leads to problems in the long run. When skiing, it is therefore important to do compensatory exercises in between to relax. When sitting, this would be to change your position more often or to stand up from time to time. Here, too, the right "equipment" plays a major role. There are rigid chairs and there are chairs that encourage movement. I don't know of any that move more than the Aeris Swopper. And movement is always good for you!
Regeneration is an important topic in top-class sport. Does such a "low-threshold" training of the back muscles through active sitting play a role at all?
After my own back problems, I have learned that the training of the back muscles can not be ignored. I use every opportunity in everyday life to strengthen the core muscles and thus the back. This also includes active sitting.
We read in your CV that you are also a certified Feng Shui consultant. How do you rate the Aeris Swopper under Feng Shui aspects? And finally, can you give us a few tips for the good design of a home office?
Every person has colours that suit them particularly well; colours that make them feel particularly comfortable and therefore particularly efficient. The Aeris Swopper health chair is available in many colours - and if the ideal Feng Shui colour is not available, it can also be placed at the workplace in neutral black or white. Natural materials and round shapes are preferred - there are also Feng Shui points for the round Aeris Swopper. During a Feng Shui consultation, the right sitting and viewing direction for the person at the desk is sought. As a general rule, people who sit with their back to the door are more nervous and more prone to making mistakes. So it is better to have the door in view, this supports persistent working. In addition, tidiness in the office is very important. A tidy office and a desk that is clear and tidy allow clear thoughts.