When I first started researching this blog, I had no idea that an exercise ball can be used as an alternative to an office chair. The use of balls as alternatives to office chairs has been growing in popularity, and has been at the centre of some debate for a couple of years now.
Some people swear by exercise balls, which have the advantage of keeping you constantly mobile and forcing you to balance. Here’s Lizzy Van Niekerk of Quirk sitting on hers Buddha-style:
Others question the benefit of balls. Sitting on a ball does burn more calories, though the difference is small, and there’s no evidence that it improves posture. There’s a good overview of the pros and cons of using an exercise ball as a chair here.
In short, these are the arguments for sitting on a ball instead of a chair:
- Keeps you mobile – in order to balance, you have to keep adjusting your position.
- Improves your balance.
- You can bounce on it.
- Handy for exercises when you have a spare moment.
And the arguments against:
- Doesn’t necessarily improve posture – can cause spinal compression.
- Balls roll around. (Read about the battle between University of Bath physiotherapists and Health and Safety officials here.)
Overall, there’s an argument for using your ball as a chair some of the time, standing at your desk some of the time and, yes, sitting some of the time (while maintaining good posture).
In other words, everything in moderation.