Over 25% of adults say they sit for longer than eight hours a day.
Not only are they spending most of their day being physically inactive, but they’re sitting in confined positions for much of that time.
Sitting at your desk for long periods can be uncomfortable, but it can also do damage to your back.
Trading out a regular office chair for a ball chair can keep your body and mind more involved in your daily tasks.
What Is a Ball Chair?
Stability balls, or exercise balls, are often used in physical therapy to help you extend your range of motion.
They can also be a great way to improve your balance. So many people use these balls for exercise that they wanted to incorporate them into other areas of their lives.
It’s possible to balance on an exercise ball by itself, but ball chairs offer a frame and backrest to hold the ball in place. The ball can be easily removed from the frame so you can use it for exercises other than sitting.
There are many benefits to using a ball chair as your desk chair. Physical therapists call this “active sitting” because it engages so many muscles instead of allowing you to slouch and cause yourself pain.
A ball chair is not limited to just an exercise ball in a basic frame. You can get ball chairs that have wheels for portability. Some have adjustable legs, so you can use them at desks of varying heights.
You can choose chairs with frames made from durable plastic or metal, depending on your preference. The balls themselves are made of sturdy, non-latex material that can hold up to 300 pounds.
They come in various colors so you can find something that suits your personality.
Upscale ball chairs don’t have a frame at all, but rather feature the ball design built into a unique chair style.
If you don’t like the look of a traditional ball chair and don’t care about removing it to use as an exercise ball, these chairs can make your office look interesting.
How Can It Help?
A ball chair will change the way you sit at your desk. You’ll notice major changes in your body after you bring this type of chair into your office.
If you’re not sure how this chair can help you, consider using both an ergonomic office chair and a ball chair at different times in the day until you get used to the change.
When your spine curves unnaturally due to bad posture, you’ll experience back pain. Your back muscles and vertebrae being held in stressful and stagnant positions will put pressure on them and cause long-term damage.
You can improve your posture by sitting upright and not crossing your legs or ankles. Your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle when you’re resting your hands on your desk or keyboard.
This position automatically helps your body maintain an ideal position.
Using a ball chair will naturally help you sit this way. Since the surface is unstable, your body has to constantly work to keep you balanced. This engages your core, back, and pelvic muscles.
If you have to sit for long periods at work, make sure you get up occasionally.
You don’t want to sit so long that your back begins to ache. Stand up, stretch, and walk around before settling back into your chair. Even when you use a ball chair, make sure to take periodic breaks from sitting.
Relieve Back Pain
Not only will a ball chair help improve your posture, but it can also relieve back pain.
Sitting on a ball chair engages muscles deep in your abdomen and back that aren’t often used. In addition to strengthening your muscles, sitting on a ball chair can also help your spine.
The muscles that stabilize your spine will help you sit up straight while eliminating the stiffness you typically feel after sitting for a long period.
That stiffness will weaken the muscles that surround the spine, decreasing your mobility over time.
A ball chair frame that has a backrest can alleviate lower back pain. While traditional office chairs have tall backs that reach your neck, ball chairs have shorter backs that end near the base of your spine.
If your core is feeling overworked from balancing on the chair, you can lean back slightly on the low backrest for relief. The backrests are shaped to provide support without allowing you to slouch.
Since your body will be making constant readjustments while you sit on a ball chair, it will produce natural pain relief as you move.
Shifting your core to lengthen your spine, for example, will naturally allow your lower back muscles to feel relief.
Increase Core Strength
Your core is a complex set of muscles that stretch from the base of your neck to your pelvis. They include your abs, back, pelvic floor, obliques, and more. Strengthening these muscles will benefit your entire body.
Many people focus on their arm and leg muscles when they exercise, but it’s crucial to pay attention to your core as well. Core muscles help stabilize your body rather than promote movement.
Having a strong core gives you the foundation your body needs to do other tasks, from daily chores to weight lifting.
When you work on your core muscles, you’re strengthening your body from the inside out. Engaging your core while you sit on a ball chair will help eliminate neck pain and prevent rounded shoulders.
Physical therapists recommend core exercises to ease back discomfort, among other pains.
Developing your core muscles will help take some of the stress off of your back muscles and strengthen other muscles so you can still have an ideal range of motion.
When you sit on a ball chair, you have to work to constantly stay balanced. You’ll have to make frequent adjustments to keep your weight distributed and your muscles engaged. You’ll be doing many small exercises throughout the time you’re sitting on the chair.
Because of these constant movements, you might not want to use a ball chair for an entire day’s work. You’ll have to focus on your body just as much as your work, for one thing. But also, sitting this way can make your back muscles fatigue easily.
Proprioception is an awareness of where your hands and feet are relating to the rest of your body. The instability of a ball chair will ensure you’re always aware of how your body is positioned. This will help you increase your balance because you’re constantly stabilizing your body.
Sitting on a ball chair for 30 minutes a day can help build your balance. Keep your feet flat on the floor and feel how your core muscles engage to keep you balanced. If you have trouble with this exercise initially, slightly deflate the ball so you’re able to balance.
Periods of prolonged sitting lead to chronic problems like type 2 diabetes, nerve pain, and circulation troubles. Improved circulation will not only benefit your physical health but will also give you a brain boost.
Sitting on a ball chair engages your mind as well as your muscles. Slouching often makes people feel lethargic while they work. Because you’re sitting up straight and working your muscles on a ball chair, you’ll feel more alert and able to focus on your work.
The subtle movements that your body requires to stay balanced on a ball chair will burn four times as many calories per hour. Active sitting is an accurate name for this practice because your body truly does not rest while you’re on a ball chair.
You can search online to find exercises and yoga routines that use your ball to get even more out of your purchase. You can work your core, abs, legs, and more. An exercise ball can elevate your push-ups, crunches, planks, and more.
This type of chair won’t support your back muscles, so sitting on a ball chair may exacerbate any previous back injuries.
However, if you’re in good shape and your doctor recommends using an exercise ball, sitting on a ball chair can be a great way to add this movement into your routine.
When using a ball chair to improve your posture, alleviate back pain, and strengthen your core, consider using it part-time. Have an ergonomic office chair on hand for longer stretches of work, and switch to the ball chair when you need to move your body.
There might be an adjustment period to get used to your ball chair.
After a week or two, you’ll be able to feel the results in your back. By that time, you’ll know how long you can comfortably sit on the chair so you can get the most out of your usage.
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