Which is best - Office Chair or Exercise Ball when sitting at the workplace?
Office chairs are notorious for causing posture problems - slouching, sore neck, shoulders and back pain - where the longer you sit the more likely you'll suffer.
Not surprising many people wonder whether they should swap their office chair with a big exercise ball; after all these big spongy balls are used for exercise and therefore must be good for you!
Sadly that is usually not the case.
Just because something is part of an 'exercise' program doesn't make it ideal or even suitable for an entirely different purpose. There is some evidence that using an exercise ball as an office chair replacement may in fact complicate things and result in other problems.
As far as posture is concerned, exercise balls are not exactly supported by a compelling body of evidence. Although proponents say the exercise ball forces users to sit up straight to stabilize themselves, a 2009 British study found that prolonged sitting on a therapy ball led to just as much slumping and “poor sitting position” as a desk chair.
Another 2009 study, by Dutch researchers, compared workers who did hour long typing tasks on exercise balls and while seated in office chairs with armrests. The balls produced more muscle activity and 33 percent more “trunk motion.” But they also produced more spinal shrinkage - believed to be caused by the overactivity of the person’s own back muscles.
“It is concluded that the advantages with respect to physical loading of sitting on an exercise ball may not outweigh the disadvantages,” the researchers wrote.
While sitting on an Exercise Ball may burn more energy than sitting on an office chair, there is no evidence that it improves posture.
At BCNC, we use a safer, more comfortable option – the Back Vitalizer.
Back Vitalizers are:
- More versatile – you can use them as a sitting cushion as well as a backrest / lumbar support and alternate between the two positions during the day,
- Compact and portable – may be used in the home or office, in a car or plane,
- Simple to adjust – add or release air to your desired level of comfort or stability,
- Safer – the Back Vitalizers are stable and cannot roll away and cause falls.
- This short 2 minute YouTube clip talks about how the back vitaliser works: http://youtu.be/drSPQyUwMcI?list=UUDroFYFJ9ZrpY_FERx-8Diw
Please email the clinic if you have any questions about how to sit comfortably and safely on email@example.com or call for a chiropractic appointment, if you want your sitting posture assessed in your next chiropractic consultation.