Do Stability Balls Really Keep You On The Ball
Staying seated for prolonged periods of time means minimal muscle activity, which can result in physical and mental fatigue, as well as chronic back pain. However, the primary culprit of both fatigue and back pain in the work setting has more to do with poor posture. After even one hour of sitting, its easy to fall into the habit of slouching, which decreases core strength and ab movement. Thats where the idea of sitting on a stability ball comes into play. Stability balls, as the name suggests, requires stabilization on the users behalf. By keeping your core engaged, youre working your muscles, which can result in increased alertness.
How Sitting On A Stability Ball Benefits Your Spine
There are at least three outstanding benefits you can enjoy by using a stability ball as your chair. Try it for just 30 days and see the difference for yourself. In that time you will see:
Your core muscles are toned. As you balance on the stability ball it forces you to engage your core muscles including those in your deep back, abdominal, and pelvic floor. It will keep your muscles engaged for extended periods of time but also encourage you to move for a little extra core work. This in turn will help to keep your spine properly aligned and stabilized.
Your back pain is relieved. Sitting on your stability ball improves your circulation, encouraging blood flow throughout your body. An office chair, on the other hand, does just the opposite. This is helpful in relieving pain. It keeps your spine aligned which also helps with any back pain you may experience. This is in part to the core strength you develop, but also because you are less likely to slouch or sit in a position that puts a strain on your back.
You have better posture. A better aligned spine just naturally leads to better posture. Sitting on the ball works your core, strengthening those muscles so that your spine is supported, resulting in better posture. You will find that you sit up straighter and over time you will walk taller. Better posture is very good for your spine, making it more flexible and stronger.
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How Can A Birthing Ball Help During Labor
Birthing balls, which many hospitals units provide, can be used to relieve pain and discomfort during labor through a variety of positions and exercises. The key is finding whats most comfortable to you.
Sitting on the ball with your legs open will apply non-painful pressure to the pelvis and on the perineum, says Loanzon, who advises full-term patients use birthing balls at home to assist with early labor pains before heading to the hospital. This positioning, along with consistent contractions, can help the fetal head place pressure on the cervix, acting as a wedge to assist with cervical dilation.
Loanzon also notes that the pressure on the perineum is thought to reduce the sensation of pain by blocking the message to the spinal cord.
Additionally, birthing balls are ideal for women who want to move during labor.
Pregnancy balls can help support the lower back muscles and the gentle movement may be preferable to sitting in a bed, Moore says. Some women also like to kneel in front of the ball, lean over it or rest their head and hands on the ball. The movement may feel like a distraction or even a form of meditation.
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Drawbacks Of Sitting On A Stability Ball All Day
Sitting for long periods at a time has been linked with some negative long-term health effects, including an increased risk of conditions like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
In the short term, sitting for long periods can also increase muscle tightness, particularly in your hip flexors. This can affect your balance, walking gait and overall posture. But replacing your desk chair with a stability ball isn’t the best solution either, says Samuel Chan, physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York.
Sitting on a stability ball requires active engagement of the core muscles since you don’t have any back support, Chan says. While this position can be good for improving your posture and core stability, as soon as you relax, your posture suffers, which can ultimately lead to aches and pain.
“While you may be mindful enough to keep your core engaged and sit with proper posture on the ball, most individuals inevitably start to slouch over time,” Chan says. “This can potentially lead to neck and low back pain due to poor posture and lack of back support, as well as wrist or shoulder pain due to the lack of arm rests.”
Plus, you’re still in a sitting position, so the risk for issues with hip flexor and hamstring tightness is still there. If mitigating the health risks of sitting all day is your goal, you’ll need to do more than sit on a stability ball for the entire day.
Psychological Benefits Of Sitting On The Yoga Ball
When sitting in the chair, as time goes by, there may be low motivation, focus shifts and distractions. When sitting on the yoga ball, there is no disturbance or focusing problem because it is not possible to sit on the yoga ball very comfortably. It is known that when the person sits on the yoga ball, the brain works faster, the endorphin is secreted and there is a feeling of relaxation along with the breathing pattern.
Every sport done reduces stress and has positive energy with secreted hormones. Practicing yoga and even just sitting on the yoga ball during the day has an impact on human psychology, providing the atmosphere necessary for deep breathing and calming. In a study, a teacher made his students sit on a yoga ball instead of a desk, and after this change, it was observed that the exam success of the students increased considerably. In other words, it was seen that the yoga ball had an impact on the success of the students as well as the white-collar working at the workplace.
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Truth Vs Myth: Is Using An Exercise Ball To Replace Your Office Chair A Good Idea
Matt Middlesworth ;// ; December 16
One of the latest trends in office ergonomics is the use of exercise balls to replace the traditional office chair. Is this a good idea? What does the science of ergonomics have to say? Lets find out.
Youve read .
You know that sitting all day is bad for you.
So when a friend tells you about an interesting possible solution to this problem, youre intrigued. The advice your friend gave you was to replace your office chair with an exercise ball. That way, they claimed, you get a little extra exercise and develop better posture at the same time.
Sounds great, right?
Well, not so fast
Using exercise balls as office chairs seems to be taking off as the latest strategy aimed at reducing fatigue, discomfort and sitting disease, but is it really effective?
What do the ergonomics experts have to say?
Lets find out.
Stability Ball Dead Bug
As you perform this dead bug variation, keep your core activated and lower back flat against the floor.
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Using A Yoga Ball To Induce Labor
Yoga balls are a staple in the lives of many pregnant women. They can be used throughout pregnancy to increase comfort when sitting. They can also be a useful tool for exercise. But did you know that you can use a yoga ball for inducing labor at the end of your pregnancy?
While it doesnt directly induce labor, a yoga ball can help you get in the right positions to help move baby down towards the birth canal. Yoga balls can help:
Should You Swap Your Desk Chair For A Yoga Ball
Probably not, at least not for more than an hour or two at a time. While sitting on a yoga ball may give you a core workout in short bursts, there isnt a lot of evidence that it automatically improves posture.
A yoga ball chair doesnt guarantee good posture, says Caitlin Reid, holistic physiotherapist and wellness consultant at . You still have to think about how youre sitting.
In fact, a 2009 study found that after only an hour of sitting on a yoga ball at a desk, the participants showed significant spinal shrinkage .
Sadly, Ive seen almost worse posture on yoga ball chairs than on good desk chairs, says Reid. This is because many people roll their tailbones underneath and arch their shoulder forward, poking their chin forwards to compensate for the weight shift. This position looks like a floppy banana sitting on a ball.
A small 2006 study found no difference in muscle activation between sitting on a yoga ball chair and sitting on a stool.
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Can Sitting On An Exercise Ball Help My Back Pain
Exercise ball, stability ball, yoga ball: Whatever you call it, using it as a desk chair is debated among some ergonomics experts, and unfortunately, research is sparse on the topic. Some articles, blogs and even ergonomics experts propose that alternating between an exercise ball and traditional desk chair throughout the day can result in subtle muscle contractions in your core. These contractions are required to stay balanced and stable. Also, you must engage your hip and leg muscles, which contributes to better muscle tone.
Thats the idea, anyway. However, there is not definitive research to support these beneficial claims of using a stability ball in place of or in conjunction with a chair. In fact, that fun-looking big ball may cause more harm than help.
Buying Guide For Best Exercise Balls
If you’re looking for a versatile, inexpensive addition to your home gym, an exercise ball might be just what you need. Exercise balls allow you to intensify your workout while mixing dynamic stretches into your routine.
Theyre versatile enough to accommodate all types of athletes, from the beginner who wants to improve stability to the seasoned athlete whos preparing for a competition. When shopping for an exercise ball, there are some key factors to consider: size, weight limit, and price are some of the most important.
Continue reading to learn more about exercise balls and how to choose the right one for your needs.
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Exercise Ball As Office Chair Why Or Why Not
So, what does the scientific evidence say about them? As it turns out, there are more negatives than positives to using an exercise ball as an office chair. Virtually all research suggests that stability yoga ball chairs are causing more problems than solutions.
Heres what a world-renowned expert, Dr. Callaghan, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Spine Biomechanics and Injury Prevention at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, had to say about this matter:;
To be quite frank, I cannot see any advantage or reason for a person to be using an exercise ball as an office chair.
While you might think that sitting on a ball would demand extra effort from your abs, research done by Dr. Callaghan and his colleagues proved otherwise. Sitting on a stability ball did little to nothing in providing a mini-workout for your abdominal muscles.
The research concluded that the discomfort caused by sitting on a stability ball outweighs the small biological responses when compared to sitting on a regular office chair. This suggests that the use of exercise ball chairs for prolonged sitting may not be advantageous for you.
Another drawback of using a stability ball as an office chair, as published by Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders , is the;increased risk of developing back pain and sustaining an injury because of the unstable nature of the balls.;
So, to summarize our research on this topic, here are the benefits of exercise ball chair:
Tips For Sitting Safely
If you want to experiment with a yoga ball chair, make sure to follow these guidelines:
If you want to try using your yoga ball as a desk chair for an hour or two at a time, be sure to set up your workstation so you can maintain proper sitting posture. This might mean investing in a desk of a different height, an external keyboard and mouse, or other new equipment.
For good desk posture, Reid says all of the following should be true:
- Your chin should be parallel to the floor when youre looking straight at your screen. Your neck shouldnt be bent up or down.
- Your elbows should be just below your keyboard, and your shoulders should be soft.
- Your knees should bend at a 90-degree angle.
- Your feet should be flat on the floor.
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So Is Sitting On An Exercise Ball At Work A Bad Idea Yes
In short, yes. Chances are you will experience more low back and neck discomfort without any benefit to your posture or core muscle strength. If you like the idea of the extra calorie burn, you can get the same effect from walking 1/3 of a mile at lunch or during a break. Getting up from your chair a few times per day, stretching and walking around the office will also do more to improve your posture and reduce pain than sitting on a ball.
The idea of improving your health while doing something you have to be doing anyway is attractive. However, this is not a good means to do it. If you want to improve your health, eating healthfully, being active, stretching, and engaging in an effective exercise program are much better ideas than swapping out your chair for an exercise ball. Save the exercise ball for crunches and wall squats.
How About A Chair With A Ball For Seat
|When a product fails to deliver on its promises, you always see manufacturers developing another expensive product, which will also fail. This is the very story of the ergo ball chair …Here, the intention is to provide a lumbar support onto the sitting ball. But if you sit on the apex of the ball, the lumbar support if far away! And if you want to sit against the lumbar support, you have to sit on the slope of the ball, which will tilt your pelvis and make you slouch.;Hence, if you want to buy an “ergonomic ball chair”, make sure that the lumbar support can be pushed forward enough!|
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Hazards Of Using A Fitness Ball As A Chair
Providing fitness balls in a workplace may place the employer at risk of introducing a hazard. An employer should assess the risk to health and safety where the balls are used, or planned to be used, as seating at work.
Known hazards include:
- high concentration levels and fatigue from sustained exercising
- the initial upright posture is likely to be lost over a long period of sitting because there is no full seat and back support
- upright postures are not able to be maintained during tasks requiring any reaching or moving around
- employees cannot swivel or navigate around the workstation
- getting on and off or reaching from the ball may create a falling hazard
- the sitting surface does not provide adequate support for the buttocks and thighs
There are adaptations of the ball to fit within a standard adjustable chair base with a backrest but this adaptation would seem ineffective because most of the exercise advantage would be lost and the sitting surface would further decrease support for the buttocks and thighs.
Should You Swap Your Chair For An Exercise Ball
Replacing your desk chair with a stability ball seems like a good way to sneak in some core exercise while you work. But how effective is it, really?
Sitting on a chair requires no muscle activity at all and it actually hurts us for a number of reasons, says John P. Porcari, PhD, FACSM, exercise physiologist at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. For one, people tend to slouch and use poor posture, and sitting in a chair puts your abs on slack and decreases core strength. Using an exercise ball counteracts both of these things. Although you can still use poor posture on a ball, sitting properly requires subtle muscle contractions of the core, hip and leg muscles to maintain balance, which contributes to muscle tone.
But there are some drawbacks, says Jessica Matthews, assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College in San Diego. Sitting on a ball creates an increased load on the lumbar spine and discomfort over time. Prolonged periods of sitting, whether in a chair or on an exercise ball, can also lead to poor body mechanics and posture.;
The bottom line: Sitting on a stability ball doesnt automatically improve core strength, but when used correctly and with good posture it offers subtle benefits as an alternate desk chair.
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