Your Body Posture

What are some reasons to buy a Ball chair? Do they really help?

By now, you already know that sitting all day is more harmful than smoking, and while this statement draws a lot of arguments in the medical world – It still poses some major health concerns for the modern human being. Ball chair exercise  are all the rage. The ball chair, stability ball, or yoga ball is a piece of equipment that can be used for stability and core training.

You’ve probably noticed a couple of companies or your coworkers replace them for their office chairs. Your regular office chair is notorious for negatively affecting your posture, and more so if you are not sitting upright. Slouching on your chair may also lead to decreased core strength.

Using a ball chair helps you spend time actively balancing, and as a result, your body forms a correct posture. This, in return, will help alleviate any core strain or back pain that might have been caused by slouching on a chair.

What is a Ball Chair?

A ball chair is simply a chair that sits inside a frame. Depending on the one you get, it will have casters that help it relocate quickly. The ball chair is made of burst-resistant vinyl, which is filled with air. Since the ball is curved and rests on a flat surface, it is unstable. Therefore, to be able to stabilize it, muscles found in the thighs and core that are usually not used when sedentary come into play. This kind of muscle engagement offers some sort of passive workout while you sit.

Myth Vs. The Truth about Ball Chairs

Sitting on a ball chair instead of a standard chair

The whole concept of sitting on a ball chair instead of your traditional chair is that the instability caused by the ball chair forces the user to use their trunk muscles and, as a result, increase core strength, decreasing discomfort and improving posture in the long run. Yet another benefit of the ball chair is that it boosts calorie burn when your core is engaged. According to the supporters, the users burn more calories on a ball chair than they would be seated on a traditional chair.

Scientific Research on Ball Chairs

Many studies have discovered that ball chairs might lead to more problems than solutions if not used correctly. And if you are looking to exchange your office chair for a ball chair, you’d be better off practicing upright sitting posture on your traditional office chair than getting a ball chair.

According to one study, sitting on a ball chair overtime doesn’t do a lot to alter how you would sit, and yet it still feels like it increases the level of discomfort. Another research study found out that there is little activation of muscles between sitting on a chair and a ball chair.

The Center of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders states that the use of ball chairs if used improperly, might increase an individual’s risk of sustaining an injury due to its unstable nature.

Drawbacks to Using Ball Chairs

According to Harvard Health, sitting for extended periods has been linked with several negative long-term health effects, including the risk of health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Simply put, sitting for long periods will increase muscle tightness over time and particularly on your hip flexors. With time, this will affect your balance, posture, and walking gait.  However, replacing your office chair with a ball chair isn’t the best solution, either.

Sitting on a ball chair requires the active engagement of your core muscles since you lack back support. While this position is right for your posture and core stability, as soon as the user relaxes, their posture suffers, leading to pain and aches.

Also, while you might focus and keep your core engaged when you first start sitting on your ball chair, with time, most individuals will inevitably begin slouching. This will ultimately lead to neck and lower back pain due to poor posture and lack of back support.

Furthermore, you are still in a seated position. Therefore, the risk of issues with your hamstrings and hip flexors are still there. If mitigating the health risks of sitting all day is your goal, then you will need to do a lot more than just sit on your ball chair the entire time. Depending on your posture and advice from your chiropractor, you will have to include some exercises into your routine.

What Else Can You Do Instead of Sitting All Day on a Ball Chair?

If you are looking to advance some core-activating benefits to your routine, you can start by sitting on your ball chair at intervals, instead of several hours in a day. For maximum benefit, start with shorter intervals than you would expect, with much longer rest periods. For instance, first-time users can start with five minutes of sitting on the ball chair, then, over time, build their endurance.

Also, instead of using your ball chair for eight straight hours in a day, you could add some movement into your routine. A good idea would be to set a reminder or an alarm to get up and move, even if it means getting up to grab a glass of water.

If you are at home and not necessarily using your ball chair at the office, you can break up the day with a few postural exercises to rip the maximum benefits of the ball. In case you are unable to pause in the middle of the day to exercise, you could incorporate the following exercises into your after-work routine.

Rather than sitting all day on the ball chair, you could incorporate the following ball chair exercise throughout your day:

Ball Chair Prone TBallChairProneT

  • Lie flat on your belly, making sure you are on top of the ball chair with your knees bent and arms resting along the sides of the ball. It is essential that your knees and toes are touching the ground and that your head is resting on a neutral position, facing the ground.
  • Now, squeeze your shoulder blades down and back and lift your arms straight into a T position, making sure your thumbs are pointing up.
  • With your arms aligned parallel to the ground, pause for a moment, and then get back to your starting position.

Tip

Do eight to ten reps and three sets of this exercise throughout your day.

Ball Chair Prone YBallChairProneY

  • Just like the above exercise, start in the same position with your chair ball underneath your belly, knees, and toes resting on the floor. Let your arms lie on your side, ensuring they are in the same line as your shoulders.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades downwards and backward, raising your arms straight at the front of your body and a little out. This will form a Y-Shape position. Like in the first exercise, make sure your thumbs are pointed out.
  • Get your arms parallel with the floor, pause for a moment, then, lower, returning to a straight position.

Tip

Try to incorporate eight to ten reps and three sets of this exercise throughout your day.

Ball Chair Dead BugsBall Chair DeadBug

  • Start by lying on the ground, ensuring your back is flat against the ground.
  • Now, raise your arms straight up towards your ceiling, bringing your legs up to a tabletop position. Bend your knees to 90 degrees, ensuring your shins are parallel to the ground.
  • Balance the ball between your knees and palms right above your midsection.
  • The next step is to extend your right arm straight over your head and simultaneously extend the left leg straight away from your body.
  • Now, activate your core to keep the ball balanced between your right leg and your left arm.
  • Get back to the starting position and switch sides, making sure you extend your left arm and right leg.

Tip

Try to perform eight to 10 reps and three sets of this exercise throughout your day.

Ball Chair Mountain ClimbersBall Chair MountainClimbers

  • Get to a high plank position on your ball chair. Now place your palms on the ball and extend your legs out so that they are behind you. Make sure your body remains in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Activate your core to make sure your upper body is balanced, and your back is flat.
  • Lift your right knee towards your chest, pause for a moment, and return to the starting position.
  • Finally, raise your left knee to your chest and pause for a moment and return to the starting position.

Tip

Try to incorporate eight to ten reps and three sets of this exercise throughout your day. As you become stronger, you can try and increase the pass of this exercise, alternating your legs quickly while still maintaining your balance.

Benefits of Using a Ball Chair

If you are looking to purchase a ball chair to improve your overall physique and posture, but haven’t made that jump yet. Here are a few reasons you should proceed.Ball Chair

Upright Posture

When you are seated on a ball chair, you are forced to sit upright, engaging your core. This action helps you improve your core each day. However, what you need to understand is that sitting on a ball chair for a prolonged period could also lead to slouching.

To prevent this from happening, you could alternate between your traditional chair and ball chair, helping you achieve more support to your lumbar spine while keeping you upright the entire day.

Helps you move more frequently

The ball chair is made from a vinyl material with a bouncy effect. This aspect of the ball chair helps keep your body in constant motion. Its unstable nature helps the user stand up more to adjust the sitting position. This helps the body prevent stiffening up and also keeps you actively thinking about your posture.

The overall nature of a ball chair helps promote activity. Users will find themselves bouncing or rolling on the chair while they sit. Just make sure you do not bounce off the ball chair as you are changing positions.

Helps Reduce Low Back Pain

Sitting down upright in proper posture, bouncing around, or changing positions helps to get rid of back pain in the long run. In case you experience an increase in back pain after you have made the switch from a traditional chair to a ball chair, then you might be exerting too much pressure on your lumbar spine.

Therefore, it’s a wise idea to switch back to your traditional chair the moment you begin to feel tired or get a new chair that ensures your elbows are in line with your keyboard if you are working on a desk. Getting somewhere to rest your arms is also helpful.

Helps in Aligning your Spine

Sitting in proper posture over an extended period helps keep your spine in proper alignment. Moreover, since you have access to a ball chair, you could incorporate a few ball chair exercises to help keep your spine straight.

Strengthening Your Core

When you use a ball chair, your core is engaged. You could save yourself some crunches by replacing your traditional chair with a ball chair. Using your ball chair at work will not only help strengthen your core but also help improve your core stability. This is also assisted by the deep muscles that are close to your spine.

There are a lot of advantages that users can get from building a strong core, including the prevention of injuries, protecting their inner organs, and reducing back pain.

Helps Improve your Balance

Did you know that strengthening your core improves not only your core stability but also your overall balance? According to a study by Sports Med Journal, core strengthening exercises have a positive influence on the measure of strength, functional performance, stability and falls. To state the obvious, sitting on a ball chair is improving your balance. You can do this by shifting your weight, bouncing around to help build your balance as well as wake your legs.

Helps you to exercise

Not many people like to work out, especially after a hectic day at school or work. However, it is much more comfortable working out as you work when your traditional chair is a ball chair. It doesn’t matter if you are doing a quick set of crunches while waiting for your call to go through, or you are doing a few push-ups before your daily briefing, having a ball chair is perhaps the perfect passive workout accessory.

As outlined above, there are several other exercises you could do with your ball chair, including ball push-up and plank pike-ups.

Better Circulation

You probably understand by now that sitting all day on your traditional chair could significantly affect your circulation which to some might not sound so horrible. However, the sad truth is, sitting can lead to death. According to a research study, participants aged 45 who sat for more than 11 hours in a day had a 40% chance of dying in the next three years compared to their counterparts who spent less time seated

On the other hand, using a ball chair won’t affect your circulation; if anything, it will help improve it. Combine its bouncing effect, and a few exercises throughout your day, your blood will be circulating stronger than it would on a traditional chair.

Could Help Reduce Calories

Using your ball chair is equivalent to training and engaging your core muscles, which translate to getting a good set of abs. While you will lose some calories for sure using a ball chair, it might only amount to 30 calories daily.

This alone won’t do much to get you a beach body.  However, if you are looking to improve your overall appearance, you could squeeze in a few core muscle exercises a few times in a day, adding up to the effect of your ball chair.

Helps Keep Your Brain Active

There’s a lot of scientific evidence that being physically active will help improve your brain function as well as academic performance. It is due to this reason that if you cannot find a solution to a problem, it helps a great deal to take a walk around your office block or go for a jog.

Have you realized that solutions often arise after physical activity? Using a ball chair could help bring physical activity to your work station, stimulating your brain.

Bottom Line

Please take note that; just sitting down on your ball chair all day is not a solution for your 9-5 workday. And while using a ball chair; will help to alleviate a lot of strain that most people experience sitting on a traditional chair. There’s a lot of argument about the viability of its effects. However, the truth of the matter is; sitting all day on a regular chair compared to a ball chair will harm your overall health.

With that in mind, it would be a wise idea to shift between your traditional chair and ball chair. 

Also, don’t forget to stand up and take breaks between your workday. This will help in mitigating any health concerns that are associated with sitting down for extended periods.

Are you ready to buy your ball chair? We got some of the best ball chairs listed for you

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