Benefits Of Using An Exercise Ball As A Chair

By Ashley Henshaw. May 7th 2016

An exercise ball is one option if you’re looking for a versatile, affordable and easy-to-use piece of workout equipment. Though it can be used in tons of different exercise routines, one of the simplest and most effective ways to utilize an exercise ball is to use it as a replacement for an desk chair to help combat a sedentary office lifestyle. The following are some of the many benefits you can receive from using an exercise ball as a chair.

Burn Calories

Did you know that you can burn calories just by sitting if you use an exercise ball as chair? According to a study completed in 2008, reported in The New York Times, sitting on an exercise chair at work can burn about 4 more calories an hour than if you sat in a regular office chair. That may not seem like a lot, but think of how quickly it adds up. That’s about 30 extra calories over the course of a typical workday, or 150 extra calories per week.

[Related: 10 Quick Ways To Burn Calories While Having Fun]

Improves Posture

For most people, sitting on an exercise ball encourages them to keep their back straight and utilize better posture. However, this isn’t one of the benefits you’ll receive without having to think about it. There’s no conclusive study that has linked the use of an exercise ball with better posture. Instead, it’s something that proponents and users of exercise balls have noted at length. Therefore, if you want to get better posture by using an exercise ball as a chair, try to remain aware of your posture and let the lack of arms and a back on the chair to act as a reminder to keep your spine aligned.

[Also see: Simple Exercises To Improve Posture]

Increase Core Strength

The muscles in your midsection will likely be strengthened with regular use of an exercise ball as a chair. According to that same study featured in The New York Times, workers who used an exercise ball during an hour of typing produced more muscle activity and 33 percent more motion in their midsection than those who used regular office chairs. The reason for this is that, because the ball lacks stability on the floor as well as arms and a supportive back, you constantly have to rebalance yourself on the ball and keep your posture straight. These things will be noticeable at first – you might not feel comfortable for the first few hours as you get used to the ball as a chair. However, over time you’ll do these things automatically, which helps to strengthen your core without focusing on it.

Combat The Negative Effects Of Sitting

There have been numerous studies that report the negative effects of sitting at a desk all day. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic researcher, reported that sitting for long periods of time regularly can even lead to an earlier death. Using an exercise ball makes you less sedentary because your body has to constantly readjust to the ball’s movements. Even those small movements can help combat the negative effects of sitting all day at work.

Reduce Stress

Some workplaces that encourage the use of exercise balls as chairs have found that employees feel like work is more “fun.” Workers may find that replacing their chair with an exercise ball may be something that makes their workday a little less stressful or more enjoyable. This varies on an individual basis but it could be worth trying if you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed at work.

Encourage Problem-Solving

When it comes to getting creative at work, activities that get people moving have been found to be more effective than ones where people are stationary. Using an exercise ball could be beneficial for thinking and problem-solving at work, whether you are working alone or in a group. When your body is active, your mind is often more active as well and this could potentially have positive effects on your work performance.

Things To Consider

When choosing an exercise ball to use as a replacement for your chair, make sure to keep the following in mind:

  • It might take a little bit of time for you to adjust to using an exercise ball as a replacement for a chair. Start by sitting on the ball for about 30 minutes, then gradually work your way up over a number of days so that you can sit on it all day.
  • Make sure your chair is the proper size. You should be able to reach your keyboard comfortably and shouldn’t have to look up or down to see your computer monitor.
  • Be aware of your posture. Slouching on an exercise ball is just as bad for your back as slouching in a chair.
  • Don’t use an exercise ball as a chair if you have problems with balance or other medical conditions which could increase your risk of falling off of the ball.

Although exercise balls aren’t for everyone, they can be an easy and simple way to create a healthier work environment. With regular use, you should start to see the benefits of using an exercise ball as a chair.


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