There’s a real paradox in being a health and fitness blogger:
I spend my days writing and nagging about the importance of movement and exercise, but writing requires me to sit for long hours slouching against my computer.
Just like any other office worker, my health is truly endangered by sitting most of the day. I suffer from shoulder and neck tension on some days, and lower back pain on others. If that’s not enough, I am fully aware of the risks of prolonged sitting.
Since I have no intention of abandoning my beloved work, I’ve decided to find a solution to both of these problems, by using a balance ball chair.
Why a Balance Ball Chair is Better (Than the $500 Ergonomic Chairs)
No matter how comfortable and back-supporting the $500+ Herman Miller ergonomic chairs are, they won’t make you MOVE.
Besides being much cheaper, a balance ball chair has some benefits which make them a better choice for your office:
1. Active Sitting Instead of Passive Sitting – Sitting on an exercise ball, your body is constantly making small adjustments with the postural muscles, abdominals, gluteals and leg muscles.
It is “active sitting” rather than the slumping and poor posture you develop – Even in ergonomic desk chairs.
2. Burning Calories – The balance ball chair is a really fun way to do mini-workouts throughout your day, without getting up.
This is really important if you don’t have time to get up every hour and stretch, as recommended for any office worker.
Even if you are lazy to “work out” on the ball, simply sitting on it will make you unconsciously roll back and forth, or side to side, while you work.
I’ve lost 4 pounds since I’ve started out with my chair, without trying at all.
3. Forces Spine Alignment – The balance ball chair does not really “force” you to sit up straight, but it will constantly remind you to do so.
Two weeks of using my balance ball chair have completely eliminated my neck tension and lower back pain.
4. Improves Balance – This is pretty obvious. You have to keep your balance if you don’t want to fall off the thing.
5. Strengthens Core Muscles – Your body will use your core muscles to help compensate for changes in balance.
This is actually a low-key abdominal workout, without working out at all. The hours and days of this low-key workout add up, and the result is stronger core muscles – Crucial to preventing back pain.
6. Improves circulation – Sitting on a regular desk job reduces circulation after prolonged uses. The balance ball chair improves circulation, because you are always moving.
7. It’s Fun – I have to say that taking small breaks to simply bounce n the ball is a lot of fun. Ignore the looks you get from your co-workers – They’re just jealous!
8. The price – The stability ball chair is cheaper than any fancy office chair. More health for less money? The winning combination in my book.
Why Not Go for a Simple Exercise Ball?
There are 2 main reasons I prefer the chair rather than the simple exercise ball:
- The frame and wheels in a balance ball chair allows more stability and reduces your chances of falling off the ball.
- Your co-workers may laugh at an exercise ball but the balance ball chair looks more like a chair and may be more suitable for a workplace.
Is the Balance Ball Chair Comfortable?
When starting out using your ball chair, you should begin with a half hour or less and build up your time each day to see how you tolerate it.
At first you may experience some back ache, but that is a good sign – Your weak muscles are adjusting and strengthening up.
Do not give up on the chair or decide it’s not working before you use it for a few weeks!
I now find my ball chair to be much more comfortable than most desk chairs. My neck tension and lower back pain are gone, I feel more alert, I have lost a couple of pounds and most of all – I have fun with it.
What about you? How to you keep a healthy posture while working?
To your health & happiness,