Have you ever scoffed at a particularly active coworker who kept a giant exercise ball near their desk? Or perhaps you’ve heard someone around the office boasting about the personal benefits they’ve noticed from mixing up their seating options? Maybe you are experiencing lower back pain due to sitting in your office chair for extended periods of time and you’re starting to wonder if an exercise ball might be worth a try. Here are a few things to consider.
Thanks to desks that are too low or too high, poorly angled computer screens, and old office chairs, most office workers tend to slump over or hunch their shoulders to lean on their desk. There are many expensive ergonomic chairs and adjustable desks, but why not give the exercise ball a try before pulling out your wallet? When sitting on a balance ball, if you start to lean over, the ball will likely roll out from under you. When sitting on a medicine ball your body is constantly making tiny adjustments to maintain balance on the top center.
Form, Function, and Fun
It is important to find an exercise ball that is the right size for your body. When sitting down, your legs should be at a 90-degree angle and your feet should be solidly planted on the floor. This may cause you to have to readjust your entire workstation. The good news is that you can bounce on the ball when a great song comes on.
You might also come across research or studies that say sitting on a medicine ball all day long is not the answer you are looking for to strengthen your core and back muscles. By sitting on a ball for long periods of time it is possible to put too much stress on the lower back and spine, which can lead to pain and discomfort. While there are arguments out there both for and against trading your chair for an exercise ball, there is no empirical evidence.
A Nice Balance
If you have the storage capability in your office, try splitting the time between a regular chair and a medicine ball. Don’t be discouraged when after all that abdominal activation throughout the day you don’t see signs of an emerging six pack. The best argument for sitting on a medicine ball is to focus on your posture and your core over all.
Remember, you should always consult your doctor or physical therapist about new and alternative ways to treat your body’s aches and pains.