Scientists and doctors have made it clear that sitting is the smoking of this generation. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, sitting increases our chances of developing depression, cardiac diseases, and even cancer. 86 percent of the American workforce sits for an average of 7.7 hours every day. If you add to this the number of hours we sleep, it is evident that we are inactive for the greater part of the day. But we HAVE to sit, and we HAVE to sleep! So the LEVEL by Fluidstance gives us a way to be active while we sit or stand.
“Most products on the market are made for short workouts and not for an entire day’s work like the Level,” says founder, Joel Heath. “The two major differences are in our patent pending technology and design. After dozens of rounds of prototypes and testing, we were able to construct the right amount of radius underfoot to provide constant motion, but not too much to distract you from your work.”
What is the LEVEL? This unassuming device is a workplace fitness accessory flaunting a chic and portable design. What is unique about this platform is that it will make you move! The LEVEL is designed to make the underside of your feet move constantly. The movement is just enough to make your body realign itself to maintain balance. However, the movement is subtle, and you won’t be distracted–much like what you experience when you walk.
“Our technology has ‘stops’ in the plantar flexion or dorsiflexion to provide the optimal amounts of range of motion to take care of the calves and Achilles for extended lengths of time similar to the range of motion you experience while walking.”
And if you are a stickler for the particulars, the LEVEL is designed to work on the sagittal, coronal, and transverse planes to give a gentle workout to the Achilles and calves. These movements raise your heart rate by as much as 15 percent compared to what it is when you sit. This extra workout strengthens the heart. Your range of motion also increases 20 times more than what you achieve sitting around. The gentle awareness that you bring to this soothing motion also helps to achieve a mind-body connection that in turn, lets you enter into a state of flow. Your focus is sharp and the result: the quality of your work improves.
The LEVEL is the need of the hour. Most of us lead sedentary lives. The nature of our jobs has changed over the years, and we now no longer move as much as our forefathers did. The pressures of daily living pull us in all directions, stretch us too thin, and leave us with no time to exercise or even squeeze a daily walk into our busy schedules.
“Like all trends, we believe that the “proverbial” pendulum moves to the extremes and eventually settles in the middle. We do not believe that sitting is the anti-christ or that standing is the magic bullet. We believe that moderation and movement is key and that there is a time to sit, a time to stand and a time to move. Within this moderation, we will find the right balance in how we approach our work environments. Today, we are too sedentary, but it is our goal to help set the world in motion.”
Yet human beings are wired for movement. Mother Nature has created us so that we function best and live well when we move around and are active. It is no wonder our sedentary lifestyles trigger so many diseases.
The brain behind LEVEL is Joel Heath, a serial entrepreneur who is excited by new ideas and innovative solutions and is not afraid to take the plunge to turn these to reality. He was once the Brand President of Teva footwear and has founded the [GoPro] Mountain Games®. But it was the mountains in him that prompted him to conceive the LEVEL.
Living in the mountains of Colorado, Joel was always used to being outside and on the move. Even as he ran The Mountain Games, he was outside and moving for most part of the job. So when he took up a “corporate” job that entailed sitting put for 60-80 hours every week, his body protested. He developed aches and pains. His focus suffered. He even lost his creative spark. He knew there was no way out of this world of computer workstations, conference tables, and airplane seats. So he was compelled to find a way around the situation. The LEVEL was thus conceived.
The journey from the proverbial drawing board to the first launch was challenging. True to its core beliefs, Fluidstance was determined to build a “green” product without outsourcing any of the work to service providers and vendors outside the U.S. The challenge was to find a partner who would work with a startup, in a new category, and with the green materials that Fluidstance was able to source from the local and national market. But in the end, the attractiveness, feasibility, and relevance of the idea roped in collaborators.
During the designing process, the engineers and designers were challenged to create an intuitive and smart product that would also seamlessly blend in any décor and would not look out-of-place either in office or at home. The talented design team at Fluidstance surmounted these challenges. The result is a beautiful and sleek product that works without external power.
The LEVEL is suitable for everyone who cannot make the time to go outside and move the body, but it is ideal for people who have to sit for long hours as part of their jobs, like call center and customer care executives and security personnel. What’s more, it can be used throughout the day unlike most of its peers that are designed for short bursts of activities.
In the pipeline are plans to build a range of floating bumpers, base place options, and interchangeable top decks that will let users change the look of their LEVELs.
Joel plans to work on the design of the LEVEL to make it compatible in a classroom environment. He also wants to integrate the LEVEL with a PC or a smart device to let users work and play at the same time. Finally, he wants to design versions of the LEVEL that will integrate with specific industrial applications to help tellers, sales clerks, hosts, and security personnel get their daily quota of movement without leaving their desks.
The LEVEL is the brainchild of a man who realizes the importance of movement for the human body and is also sensitive to the constraints the average man on the street with a desk job and sundry responsibilities faces. So Joel neither says, “Sitting is bad, bad, bad” nor does he suggest standing as the solution. He simply asks us to strike a balance and offers the LEVEL as a solution. The LEVEL is not just any other exercise gear; it is a product that is set to start off a “cultural revolution” to make us more active, fitter, and healthier.