Sitting on a large ball has become popular in offices. Many get rid of the chair and start sitting on the ball instead, trying to make their workplace more ergonomic, strengthen their core muscles and improve their posture.
I read a couple of studies and decided to write about the advantages and disadvantages of sitting on a ball.
Sitting on the ball – advantages
Sitting on the ball requires more activation of core muscles compared to sitting in a chair, because with the help of core muscles we do not fall off the ball. Strong core muscles contribute to the development of better posture and balance. In addition, sitting on the ball consumes a little more energy, as maintaining balance requires active muscle work. In one hour, the body spends about 4 kcal more than sitting on the ball. Thus, during an 8-hour working day, it consumes approximately 32kcal more energy.
The idea of a good office chair is to reduce pressure on the lower back and provide support for both arms and back. Sitting on the ball for a long time also requires long-lasting muscle work, which can cause fatigue, exhaustion and make back pain worse.
A number of studies have been conducted on sitting on the ball. Many studies show that sitting in a chair while working is more beneficial for the body than sitting on a ball. I will give examples from three studies.
- Thisresearch explained that it is more useful to sit on a chair than on a ball when working with a computer. In this case, the work of the core muscles and the position of the lower back while sitting on a chair and on a ball were compared. Despite the fact that the core muscles are more activated when sitting on the ball, it also causes discomfort at the same time. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid sitting on the ball if the goal is to keep the core muscles constantly active.
Anotherresearchfound that sitting on the ball causes the spine to “contract”.
Third research showed that prolonged sitting on a dynamic, uneven surface does not significantly affect large muscle activation, good posture, spinal load, or overall spinal stability. Sitting on a ball can cause compression on the soft tissues of the body and thus cause discomfort.
Is sitting on a ball a bad idea?
Long story short, yes. There is a high probability that sitting on a ball will cause more lower back pain and neck discomfort, while having little positive effect on posture and core muscle activation. Despite the fact that sitting on the ball requires more energy, a short afternoon walk also provides the same energy expenditure. Also, moving with a straight back and activated core muscles benefits good posture more than sitting on a ball. In addition, it is not possible to sit on the ball with perfect posture all day. Unfortunately, the body unconsciously assumes a comfortable position, which is a slightly forward hunched position. You can see from the following pictures that in the first one the person is sitting with the best possible posture, while in the second one he is sitting comfortably.
It would be great to take care of your body while doing things that need to be done anyway. However, if you want to take care of your health, eat healthy, be active, stretch and move around.
I definitely don’t recommend sitting on the ball all day. Remember that the best position is every next position, so keep changing your position. You can also sit on the ball for a while, but don’t stay there for a long time. You can sit on the ball when you are bored.
Instead, you can stretch or perform great exercises on your ball. You can learn more about the exercises In the next blogpost(: