Switching from a Chair to an Exercise Ball

Over the last few days I’ve experimented with replacing my usual home desk chair with an exercise ball.

There were 2 main reasons why I’ve given the ball a try: 1) posture – I noticed I have a terrible habit of ‘slumping’ when sitting in my usual chair; 2) health + exercise – sitting on an unstable surface engages most of your ‘core’ muscles to keep you balanced… plus, sitting still is killing you.

So far the experiment has been rather uncomfortable. Right now my mid and lower back is aching (though not really sore) due to my spine being forced to adopt the “proper” posture rather than the more relaxed one it is used to. Other than that, there are a few other niggles, such as it’s hard to adjust your sitting position due to the friction of the rubberised surface on jeans/more difficult to move your ‘chair’ closer to the desk. I’m determined to stick it out though. The biggest issue I’ve had has been getting the ball to the correct inflation. It’s been trial and error, and I’m not 100% I’m there yet, but I’m getting closer. Too little and the ball is ‘squidgy’ and more akin to a bean bag; too much and it’s more uncomfortable, and more unstable.

I may wind up buying a larger ball. Exercise balls tend to come in one of three sizes: 55cm, 65cm, and 75cm. I went with 65cm as it was the most common, and an online chart indicated it was the correct size for my height, but it’s maybe a fraction too small. Perhaps if my home desk lowered like my desk at the office it wouldn’t bee too bad, but right now my mid forearms have a tendancy to rest on the edge of the desk, running the risk of pain in the elbows and wrists.

It’s too early in my experiment to confirm any of the supposed health benefits, but for such a simple (and cheap) change it’s got to be worth a shot!