I wanted to follow up my blog yesterday on back pain with an article I wrote some time back on using the ol' stability ball as a chair. I have been sitting on one for 10 years! It's the best...anyway, enjoy! And don't spend a lot of money on a 'fancy' ball. The best ball I ever had (and still have) was $7.99 at Ross.
The stability ball, AKA fitness ball, has been touted for years as an essential and affordable piece of home gym equipment. But recently many have discovered the benefits of the stability ball as a chair.
After sitting in a chair for just minutes, many people lean forward or slouch, which compromises their posture. Some cross their legs, lean to one side, or sit on a foot, which may create muscle imbalances. The stability ball requires good posture to balance properly. Good posture helps eliminate muscle imbalances which are a common cause of back pain.
On a stability ball, the body must move constantly to maintain balance. This movement engages and strengthens core muscles, and helps eliminate leg fatigue by improving circulation. Also, all the extra movement burns calories, up to 350 per day!
Movement also generates energy. Because one must move continuously on a ball, the body enjoys higher energy levels and experiences greater stamina near the end of the workday.
In a very short time, the body adapts to the unstable surface. One can even stretch backward over the ball or do a few mini-crunches and back extensions, using the legs to maintain balance. This releases tension from the spine and rejuvenates the entire upper body.
Bouncing up and down on the ball pumps the spinal discs, and delivers oxygen-rich blood and nutrients. Anyone who has suffered a herniated disc can appreciate the benefits of this simple exercise. Bouncing also affords a postural ‘reset’ if shoulder slumping or slouching should occur.
At $10.00 to $40.00 each, balls cost a fraction of a standard office chair. They are lightweight and extremely portable. To easily inflate a ball, reverse the hose attachment of a vacuum cleaner. Most vacuums come with a small nozzle that will fit into any ball. If this option is not available, hand pumps are usually included.
A 65cm stability ball works best for office desks, but the size may vary based on personal preference and upper body height.
Kids love stability balls too, and they get all the same benefits as adults. They may even enjoy doing homework.
Using a stability ball at home and at the office will increase your energy and stamina and will greatly improve posture with regular use. It will also prevent back pain and help with existing pain, increase core strength and bring a little joy to the work day. No chair can do that. Give it a try at home, and then ask the boss if you can use it at work. Google employees sit on them every day.
How can I help you? I specialize in getting people out of pain through exercise and by utilizing SCENAR therapy for injuries and pain.