Lately I hear a lot of use of the word "physiology" to mean the current state of your body; posture, heart rate, thoughts, etc. For example, "Manage your physiology to stay focused at work" would mean sit upright, shoulders back, breathe slowly, and other such physical changes we can control that are conducive to better focus and comfort.

I'm pretty sure this is improper use blown into a buzzword; physiology is the biological study of how organisms function.

Is the proper word "physicality"? Is there another word to summarize "physical state" in this context?

  • I think using the correct word to define what you mean would be appropriate, for example if someone is talking about 'posture', they should use the word 'posture' and not 'physiology', similarly with your example of heart rate.It could be argued that your posture in turn effects your physiology, but these two words are not synonyms and should not be interchangeable. – 3kstc Jan 10 '17 at 21:22
  • It's unclear what the scope of your physical state should be. How much is to be included in the word you seek? At the most inclusive level, it's you now. I'd suggest you forego trying to make use of any such word. Just say what you really mean to say, clearly. – Drew Jan 10 '17 at 21:23
  • It appears that it is an extension of the meaning of the term: USING THE PHYSIOLOGY OF EXCELLENCE TO OPTIMIZE HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE: blog.iqmatrix.com/physiology-of-excellence - Control your physiology and improve your performance: trainingjournal.com/articles/feature/… – user66974 Jan 10 '17 at 21:26
  • Physique degenderfication?, hypercorrection of physio, as in physiotherapy. interesting ngram - books.google.com/ngrams/… – Phil Sweet Jan 10 '17 at 22:24
  • "PHYSIOLOGY OF EXCELLENCE" is exactly what I'm talking about. I think someone without a proper understanding of the definition just started using "physiology" as a buzzword, a la the "verbiage" pandemic. "Pay attention to your physiology" doesn't make linguistic sense, since physiology is the study of the body, not your actual physical state. I'd like to thank Boondock Saints & "symbology" for this Grammar Nazi moment. – PoundingRain Jan 26 '17 at 23:15

"ergonomics" and "ergonomic" are better terms and are used in occupational medicine.

  • ergonomics - (used with a sing. verb) The applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. Also called biotechnology. Coined in 1950 from Ancient Greek ἔργον ‎(érgon, “work”) + second element of economics.

  • ergonomic - designed to minimize physical effort and discomfort, and hence maximize efficiency.


Easy ways to improve your ergonomics (and why you should)

The ergonomics of the new office are great.

Despite the latest electronic, ergonomic, and timesaving devices to aid housework, the most tiring household tasks are still scrubbing and mopping the floors.

  • 2
    Yes, but ergonomics refers to objects, not to humans. Would you say: manage your ergonomics? – user66974 Jan 10 '17 at 21:36
  • @Josh Yes, Josh, see the link – Centaurus Jan 10 '17 at 21:37
  • They are related concepts, but not the same...see the links I posted in a comment above. – user66974 Jan 10 '17 at 21:38
  • The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine often uses the term to mean what the OP mentioned as "your physiology". – Centaurus Jan 10 '17 at 21:41
  • @Centaurus Thanks for the research. Good point about the JOEM, but IMO it doesn't hold much more weight than whoever pulled "physiology" out of their [hat] and decided to use that. If you take the example sentence and replace the word with its definition, it comes across as a completely different meaning than the intent. The OSHA article only made it clear to me that ergonomics is used to mean the efficiency of movement leading to more comfort, but not the actual state of a person's physical being as they experience a more ergonomic situation. – PoundingRain Jan 26 '17 at 23:27

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