Here’s the exercise ball office chair pros and cons including the reasons for and against, if it’s a better option than a desk chair, and what to do instead of sitting on an exercise ball all day.
Exercise balls are becoming more popular, especially as more workers turn from field to office. In addition to that, because of the pandemic, more people are discovering the WFH (work-from-home) setup and actually prefer it rather than going to a physical office.
Let’s face it though, the WFH setup is just like working in an office where you spend a lot of time sitting on your desk. And this is not a good thing for your overall health. In fact, this problem is not a new one.
Sitting for a long time can cause stress on your muscles and bones. The different types of office chairs available can impact how long you can sit and even impact your overall health.
A normal monobloc chair will have a different effect compared to an ergonomically designed office chair.
With prolonged sitting though, whatever type of chair you use, you will feel its effects on your pelvis and lower back. This is especially if you’re used to slouching.
One of the products that came out in order to help address these problems is an exercise ball. But will it really help? Let’s start with weighing these exercise ball office chair pros and cons.
Pros of An Exercise Ball Office Chair
An exercise ball is created to serve as an alternative office chair. Yes, it is something you sit on while you work. And here are the benefits you can get from using an exercise ball for an office chair.
Improves Core Strength
You can improve your core strength by using an exercise ball because it forces your body to support itself without help from any back or arm support.
Your core muscles will play an important part in helping you sit in an upright position. Your abdominals and obliques will also be affected, strengthening your muscles and improving your endurance in the process.
If you’re thinking about ways to burn calories but don’t have time to work out, an exercise ball may just be what you need.
The trick though is that you have to use it correctly by choosing the right position. Here are tips to follow to ensure you’re in the right position:
• Knees should be hip-width apart
• Keep both of your feet in full contact with the ground
• Keep your core tight
• Shoulders should be back and down
Move back and forth and side to side from time to time. Additional movement in the right posture means that you also get to burn additional calories.
Engaging your muscles will cause an increase in heart rate, leading to the burning of calories.
Improves Your Posture and Promotes Good Balance
Sitting on an exercise ball forces you to sit upright and not to slouch. Because if you are able to maintain this position more often, you will have better posture.
And since you have to maintain this posture without any back or arm support, it also helps you to have better balance and stability.
Relieves Back Pain
While an exercise ball is not the cure for your back pain, it can somehow help. Remember the fact that it improves your core muscles? That is also the key to relieving yourself from back pain.
More than just sitting on the exercise ball, you can actually use it to perform some exercises to help with your back pain. Here is one exercise you can do in 2 to 3 sets throughout your workday.
• Sit on the exercise ball
• Tighten your core muscles
• Slowly lift your left foot slightly off the ground (Hold it there for 5 seconds)
• Switch to your right foot and do the same thing
• Accomplish 10 repetitions per foot
Helps You Breathe Better
The right position required in sitting on an exercise ball opens up the thoracic cavity, enabling you to take fuller breaths in the process.
With full breaths, the diaphragm and respiratory system are able to work together better resulting in more oxygen in the body and improvement of the lung over time.
Great for Stretch Breaks
Finally, you can also use an exercise ball from your home gym when you do your stretches during breaks. It’s not good to stay seated for a long duration and your exercise ball can serve as a reminder for you to stand up and take some stretches.
Here are some positions and stretches to try:
• Chest Stretch: Arms on your sides lay face-up on the exercise ball
• Back Stretch: Stand up, rest your hands/arms on the exercise ball, and then bend forward at your hips
Cons of An Exercise Ball Office Chair
With the benefits that you get from using an exercise ball, there are also disadvantages that need consideration.
This is what you can weigh to evaluate if it’s worth the try. Here are some of the cons of an exercise ball.
Results in Exhaustion and Even Pain
Substituting your office chair with an exercise ball in your home office is not an easy decision to make. Sitting on an exercise ball takes effort and if you sit on it for a long period, it can tire you out.
If your body is not used to this exertion, you will be exhausted by lunchtime. And instead of having good posture because of the exercise ball, it will be the opposite.
In the end, you will have poor posture because your muscles will be too fatigued to maintain the correct position and posture when sitting on the ball.
Offers No Back or Arm Support
With an exercise ball, you don’t have the arm and back support that can help you last up to your full 8-hour workday.
It can be uncomfortable and painful for the body since it also puts stress on your body, particularly your joints.
Can Cause Accidents
Choosing an exercise ball as your office chair means you also choose the risk of accidents. You and your co-workers can easily trip on your exercise ball.
These accidents can cause neck, back, and head injuries (even broken bones!).
Makes It Difficult to Concentrate at Work
Finally, instead of being able to work effectively and productively, using an exercise ball can actually be counterproductive.
Since it causes your body to make an extra effort that can exhaust it, instead of concentrating on work, you may end up concentrating on keeping your posture and making sure you sit properly on the exercise ball.
Use the energy and focus you have at work instead of making sure you keep your balance on the exercise ball.
Is It Good To Use An Exercise Ball As A Chair?
Without back or arm support, sitting on an exercise ball will force you to engage your core muscles and can be exhausting after some time. Sitting on the exercise ball for too long can lead to body pain and poor posture.
Sitting for a long duration, in general, is not good for your health, whether it is sitting on a chair or a ball. Taking breaks is the key to this problem.
But is it good to use an exercise ball as a chair? No, it will exhaust you and give you pain instead. You can use it along with an ergonomically designed chair though for maximum benefits!
Is It Better To Sit On A Ball Than A Chair?
After learning about these exercise ball office chair pros and cons, it is better to sit on a ball than an office chair? No, it’s not. Use an ergonomic office chair during work time and then use an exercise ball alongside every time you take a break from work.
Start by using an exercise ball for 10 to 15 minutes and then increase it from there. And make sure to move every couple of hours though. Read more about how to choose an exercise ball for the office here.
How Long Should You Sit On An Exercise Ball At Work?
It’s impossible to sit on a ball for 8-hours for an entire working day. You can only use it during breaks. In fact, don’t sit on the ball for more than 2 hours at a time.
Sitting on the ball longer than 2 hours will result in fatigued muscles and sore lower to middle back. You are also guaranteed to feel exhausted.
Is Sitting On Exercise Ball Good For Back?
Sitting on an exercise ball is good for your back provided that you do the following:
1. Maintain the right posture while sitting on the ball
2. Do not sit on the exercise ball for over 2 hours in one sitting
3. Conduct back exercises using the ball, including reverse crunch, reverse extension, and front and back walkout.
4. Consult with your physician before buying and using an exercise ball solely to treat your back pain
What to Do Instead of Sitting on a Stability Ball All Day
An exercise ball also called a stability ball, is used mostly for balance, stability, and strength training and exercises.
It is a workout tool that some people use as an alternative for an office chair. But sitting too long in the ball can exhaust you and destroy both your posture and health.
And you can do something else besides sitting on the ball all day, including the following:
• Incorporate stability and core strength exercises (E.g. Mountain Climber and Prone Y)
• Do some stretches using the exercise ball
• Simple relax, go out, breathe fresh air, and take a break for real!
Accomplishing your work can be tiresome, especially if you’re using a chair that’s not conducive to your needs. By taking a look at the pros and cons of an exercise ball as your office chair, you can have a better experience working.
See more related content in our article about setting up a home office for remote work on this page.