Do balance ball chairs work?
The use of exercise or balance balls as office chairs seems to be taking off as the latest strategy aimed at reducing fatigue, discomfort, and sitting disease. But is it really effective? What do the ergonomics experts have to say? Do balance ball chairs work?
The truth is that balance ball chairs do not work to improve or strengthen posture. Since a balance ball chair will not support your back muscles it can irritate them. In case of a previous injury, it can even increase the pain if using them for a long time.
But there is more to it. We asked experts and a physical therapist to share their views on whether it's a good idea for office chairs to be replaced with exercise balls instead of a traditional office chair.
We will look at some of the latest developments from the science behind the design of our offices in the design and construction of our new technology, in tests from the US Department of Health and National Institute of Standards for Standards of Engineering and Standards of Design.
While you are sitting on a general office chair, you are using no muscle at all; slouching is even worse for your health. Besides, slouching can destroy your posture and core strength. It is accepted that sitting on a regular chair the whole day can ruin your posture.
So all sitting for a full day is bad for your posture, regardless of if you are sitting in a regular office chair or on a stability ball. But in this article, I will share all the facts that a balance ball chair can help you with your posture or not?
Exercise Ball, Balance ball, Stability ball - what's the difference?
Before we get deeper into the subject, it's important to know that there are three types of balls: exercise balls, balance balls, and stability balls.
According to SportsRec the actually is no difference between a Ballance Ball, an Excercise Ball, and a Stability Ball. Other words for the same type of ball are fitness ball, yoga ball, workout ball, or also swiss ball.
All of these balls are inflatable balls, designed to be used while exercising to target the core muscles. These balls are often used in physical therapy because they help improve flexibility, circulation, core stability, and posture. They are also used to help relieve back pain and reduce stress.
But they can also be used as a chair in an office or even in schools.
These balls are usually inflated to about 40 cm or 16 inches in diameter. The user sits on the ball with their feet on the ground and uses it to do exercises, stretch or relax. But there are different sizes of these balls and it's important to get the right size for your heoght. We will touch on that later in this article.
What are the Benefits of using a Balance ball chair?
Are you experiencing the adverse side effects of sitting on a regular chair? Here is a list of five benefits you can get by replacing your standard chair with a balance ball chair.
- Burn Extra Calories
- Relieve Back Pain
- Tone Core Muscle
- Breathe Better
- Induced the inspiration to stretch
Let's go through these benefits one by one and see how to make the best use of your exercise ball.
Does sitting on exercise ball help lose weight?
Many people spent more than 8 hours sitting on their chairs. For most of us, sitting on a chair is part of our job, whether we are a writer, doctor, or a student. If you are interested in replacing your general chair, then you must know about extra bounded calories.
The correct way to use a balance ball for sitting:
• Keep your knees apart at least of your hip-width
• Keep your both feet on the ground
• Roll your back shoulder by straightening up your spine. To avoid the bending of your neck, adjust the position of your computer screen and keyboard.
• While you are sitting, keep your abs activated by slight side by side or circular movements with your buttocks.
It's simple to understand the more you move, the more calories you are burning. And on a balance ball, you can sit more actively on the balance ball chair.
Is a Ball Chair good for your back?
Unfortunately, the fact is your back pain will not completely diminish by just sitting on a balance ball chair. Sitting on exercise ball for back pain alone is not working.
But it will relieve a part of the pain you are currently experiencing. When you are sitting on a ball for prolonged periods on a balance ball chair, you will have to take a moment from your work to stretch your back, and this little movement benefits in relieving your pain.
So then, balance ball chairs good for your back?
Well, they can have a positive effect if actively using them to exercise your back muscles. But more is needed than simply to sit on them when you are working in your home office. Conscious effort is needed to use a balance ball to train your back muscles. Physical activity is the key here to a good posture.
Here are several exercises that will help in alleviating your pain.
1. Side stretching
Spread your legs while sitting straight and with your legs having a distance of hip-width and feet flat on the ground. Put one hand on your hip while stretching the other hand up. Hold the position for at least 5 seconds and repeat on the other side. Repeat this side stretching exercise three times.
2. Spine rotation
You can do this exercise while you are sitting straight on your balance ball chair. Just bring your palms in front of your chest in a way that your fingers are pointing in the upward direction.
Keep your head in the centered position and, with the help of your palms, rotate your body to the proper position without moving your hips. Hold the position for five seconds and then repeat on the left. Repeat the same process three times.
In this simple exercise, you just have to sit on a balance ball with your arms on your side and slowly walk out using your feet, and slightly lean back on the chair. Keep moving on the ball until it reaches your upper back. To form a bridge raise your arms to your head. Using your legs, roll the ball to your mid-spine and then deep your stretch. Try to hold this position for at least 15 seconds and then return to your starting position slowly.
4. Tone your core muscles
Sitting simply on a balance ball chair will not help in the toning of your muscles. But it gives you maximum chances to get a moment for the small exercises to tone your obliques and abs. Your core muscle strength closely relates to the health of your back; according to the research, core strengthening help in reducing the imbalance in the hip muscle and helps reduce the low back pain.
While working on your balance ball chair, take a short break of at least 10 minutes to perform the exercises mentioned below:
- Half ball crunch
- Shoulder curl and press
- Reverse crunch
- Plank with forearms on the ball
- Ball squat
If you have any spinal or back condition, then discuss with your doctor before trying out any exercise.
When you are in a slouch position, your lungs get shorten, and you breathe less air. According to the research, there is a relationship between lung function and our sitting posture. When you have a neutral lower back curve, more air capacity will result in better lung function.
As long as you are using the balance ball chair, your lungs will have a greater air capacity that will result in improved lung function. As long as you are using this chair properly, your muscle activity will increase for a neutral sitting posture, your upper body will be straightened and it will help you in breathing better.
Inspires to stretch
Maybe it is just my thought, but it is difficult for me to sit on a balance ball chair without taking a short break for proper stretching. Sitting on a stability ball chair inspires me to stretch so that I can relieve tension for many people like me; it's not only a seat but also a tool that relieves my body's stress. It is the best support in case of a deeper stretch that you may not be able to do without it.
Exercise balls help you move more, which is good for your brain.
It’s not just your deep muscles that get a workout. Exercise balls also help your brain stay active. Sitting for long periods can cause your brain to shrink, and even lead to depression and other mental health issues. If you are sitting at a desk all day, try using an exercise ball instead of a chair.
Exercise balls are less expensive than a desk chair.
Exercise balls are not expensive. On average, they cost about $10. They are also more portable than chairs, so if you are a person who likes to move around a lot, an exercise ball might be a better choice for you. If you have trouble sitting still for long periods of time, using an exercise ball may help keep you from fidgeting and help you focus on the task at hand.
Cons of Exercise Ball Chairs
When you sit on a balance ball chair, you will feel an increase in pressure on your spine and lower back, resulting in discomfort. Sitting for larger periods can result in bad posture. Sitting for a more extended period can hurt your health, whether you are on a casual office chair or a balance ball chair. Therefore it's better to avoid sitting for a prolonged period.
You can overcome this discomfort and any potential injury by taking short breaks to walk around, stretches, or do light exercises. These balance ball chairs can be beneficial for you, but it depends on who you are using them. It will not completely alleviate pain in your back but help in some parts. It also benefits in strengthening your core.
Precautions when using a stability ball as an office chair
If you have decided to replace your office chair with a balance ball chair, then here are some precautions to follow to ensure the safety of your environment.
The ball's height, inflation level, and angle matter a lot. Your thighs on the balance ball chair should slope downward, not at 90 degrees; Remember, the ball size shouldn't be so big that you have to balance yourself with your wrists on your keyboard.
Create a safe space
If your office is in your office where you have the freedom to make changes, it would be best to set your balance ball chair in front of the wall for safety and support. An exercise mat under your balance ball chair will give the same benefit.
Increase time gradually
If you have been using an office ball chair for a long time, don't jump straight to the balance ball chair. Give yourself some time to adjust to it, begin with half-hour and gradually increase it. There are many options available in a balance ball chair, so you can have one with wheels or maybe one with lumbar support.
No back condition
If you have been discharged from your treatment but want to do strengthening exercises, then a balance ball chair may be the best time-saving option for you. It will strengthen your core that is very beneficial in case of muscle imbalance and muscle weakness. The balance ball share is helpful for people with back pain as it helps in improving their ability to do their daily chores.
However, if you are currently suffering from an injury or have any back condition, replacing the balance ball chair with your office chair is probably a not-so-good idea.
Reduce lower back pain
If you experience back pain after switching to a balance ball chair, you could be putting too much stress on your lumbar spine. Proper posture and changing positions can help reduce lower back pain.
Rotate back to your old office chair when you're feeling tired or adjust the new chair so that your elbows are in line with your keyboard. Finding somewhere to rest your arms will help as well as moving around (or even bouncing up and down) on your desk or around the floor.
Is it good to sit on an exercise ball?
Many credential experts don't hurry to jump on the balance ball chairs as their office chairs. One study in 2013 shows that people perceived more discomfort using an exercise ball instead of a traditional desk chair. According to them, no evidence sitting on an exercise ball will help people having a better sitting position or better posture strength. These results were driven after the participants in the research went through an accommodation program.
Sitting on anything will result in compression on your spine. Remember, the ball will not support your back muscles; it will challenge them. In case of injury, the compression and no support of the balance ball chair can irritate it. And if you used it for a long time, then it can increase your pain.
But in case you are already doing back exercise since a pretty good time, then it must be okay for you to go with a ball chair. You can also adjust it as your office chair but first of all, give your body some time. The ball chair will help you in adjusting your back strengthening exercise into your daily routine. Doing trunk strengthening exercises on an unstable surface will help your exercise routine to a higher level.
So you shouldn't rush to switch to sitting on a stability ball for hours on end. Before you ditch your desk chair, get familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of using it all day. Find out what you should be doing instead of using the stability ball as a workout tool to fight a poor posture.
It is also essential to get approval from your doctor or physical therapist for exercises on a balance ball chair.
Find the Right size of an exercise ball chair
While purchasing a balance ball chair, makes sure you are purchasing the right one according to your height. When you select a too small or too big ball, either it will make exercise too easy for you or maybe extra tricky and, in few cases, almost impossible. Generally, every balance ball chair brand gives size suggestions either on their official website or on their packaging. Here is the available size and height suggestion by the University of Arkansas.
· If your height is between 4'8'' and 5'5'', your balance ball should be 45cm or 18 inches in diameter.
· If your height is between 5'6'' and 6'0'', your balance ball should be 55cm or 22 inches in diameter.
· If your height is between 6'1'' and 6'5'', your balance ball should be 45cm or 26 inches in diameter.
· If your height is between 6'5'', your balance ball should be 75cm or 30 inches in diameter.
Are exercise balls better than chairs?
There's a lot of debate about whether an exercise ball is better than a desk chair. Some people say that sitting on an exercise ball is better for your back, while others say that they can't stay seated for long periods of time.
The main difference between exercise balls and a traditional office chair is that exercise balls are more fun and engaging. Exercise balls are good because they force you to move more, which is good for your brain. If you're looking for something to help you stay awake, try an exercise ball.
While sitting on a traditional chair, you might find yourself slouching and not very attentive, but an exercise ball will help you to sit up straight and engage your core muscles.
On the other hand, a desk chair is much more stable and more comfortable for prolonged sitting in your office. If you choose an ergonomic chair that fits your height and needs it also better for your core strength than a yoga ball.
But the truth is that both chairs and exercise balls have their benefits. Exercise balls are good because they force you to move more, which is good for your brain. If you're looking for something to help you stay awake, try an exercise ball.
Changing your regular office chair with a stability ball is not the remedy for your eight-hour working schedule. But It will elevate most of the stress and strain you feel while using the regular office chairs. It is still under discussion of experts whether it is advantageous to sit on this chair or not.
Some experts highlight the disadvantages like spinal shrinkage. But actually, sitting all day is terrible for your health, whether it is a regular chair or a balance ball. No matter what you use always try to sit upright, with your spine straight, shoulder blades back, and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. At the same time don't sit always in the same position.
For best results and for an improved posture, try to switch between your routine chair and office chair.
Disclaimer: We do not give any advice if you should use a balance ball or not. Using a balance ball without medical advice can involve health risks. This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Please get professional medical advice before you make a decision.