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.
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.
Burn More Calories With An Exercise Ball Chair Workout
Ergonomic furniture is great, but very few products can turn themselves into a piece of exercise equipment when you are done sitting in them. Just take the ball out of the frame and use it for a full workout routine.
Whether you want to stretch, tighten your core, perform yoga poses, build muscle or do a cardio workout, a fitness ball can help you do all of it. In fact, each chair comes with a DVD with 3 full 20-minute workouts.
You can also find plenty more balance ball workout videos online for free. Keep in mind that if you currently have back pain, these fitness balls have several advantages.
For example, they work well for simply stretching, doing lower back pain exercises and to release tension and strain. I personally use my balance ball to perform back openers or back bends each morning for just about 30 seconds. It really helps my back feel less stiff after I wake up.
In the video below, pilates instructor Suzanne Deason demonstrates some simple movements. They can help stretch and strengthen the back, as well as promote proper alignment of the spine.
I also noticed that the Custom Fit Gaiam Chair has approximately the same price as the Classic Balance Ball Chair but it has adjustable legs and back and comes with workout videos for no extra charge. Since the Classic version is not adjustable, it can only be used for people who are 5 to 511 in height. Something to keep in mind while shopping.
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Aeromat Ball Chair Deluxe Black
Looking for the best yoga ball chair? This is a great option for you from Aeromat. The ball is designed to reduce unwanted hip and back pain.
The chair consists of 5 wheels where 2 of them are lockable. The chair weighs 20 pounds and a load capacity of 200 pounds. I think it could be a bit higher.
The dimension measures 22 inch x 22 inch x 32 inche. The chair uses PVC to build it. There is no use of latex, metals, or phthalates. Ultimately you must get all necessary features in this balance chair.
Aeromat Ball Chair Deluxe Best Balance Ball With Armrest Chair
At first glance, this ball chair from Aeromat is about as close to a standard office chair as possible, except for the ball in the middle of it.
Like a standard office chair, this ball chair includes non-adjustable armrests. This chair can also swivel thanks to the caster wheels.
You will sit a good 22 inches off the ground. Once you fully inflate the PVC ball, it is 50 centimeters in diameter.
With the armrests sitting 24-inches off the ground, you may not be able to slide it under your desk after work. But, the ball is also rather durable and is made to last and isnt prone to deforming.
But theres a catch
Is this chair too comfortable? It will quickly help your overall posture compared to a padded office chair but at a cost.
We didnt find that it actually requires much effort at all to stay seated in this chair. You just dont feel like you are balancing on this chair all that much.
Since the armrests are there to assist, you cant really move all that much. The backrest is also there to prevent you from sliding off backward.
This, in turn, leaves you using less of your core strength compared to other balance ball chairs. It would still end up being a healthier choice than a standard desk chair in the end, though.
The ball is removable, at least
You can also remove the ball from the base of the chair. You could use it to get some additional exercise that way.
- Detailed instructions and tools included.
- Possibly too comfortable.
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Trideer Ball Chair Exercise Stability Yoga Ball With Base & Resistance Bands For Home And Office Desk Flexible Ball Seat With Pump Improves Balance Core Strength & posture Best Heavy Weight Balance Ball Chair
This balance ball chair from Trideer comes in 65 or 75-centimeter sizes. It is made from a durable 2000 micrometer thick PVC and has a nonslip matte surface.
Either of them can hold a whopping 2000lb weight but
Anyone 5 ft 3 inches to 5 ft 11 inches will want to go for the 65-centimeter ball. While anyone up to 6 ft 4 inches in height will prefer the more substantial 75-centimeter ball.
Resistance band included
The large diameter of the ball makes sitting on it rather easy without putting too much tension on your legs. You will find an included resistance band with this ball chair.
We found the resistance band could be used for a bit of stability but, more importantly, for a quick bit of stretching throughout the day.
Trideer recommends you let this ball sit at least two hours at room temperature before you even begin inflating it. Once it has rested and is at temperature, you can inflate it to 80% capacity.
From there, wait 24 hours before inflating it fully and lastly wait another full day before you start using it. Thankfully, the foot pump included makes this a somewhat quicker experience.
- Anti-burst tested up to 2000 pounds.
- Takes a good 48 hours before you can use it.
Best Balance Ball Chairs Buying Guide
Whether at home or the office, a balance ball chair can be a useful and healthy benefit to your day to day life.
Ball chairs require a decent amount of balance, first and foremost. And sitting on a balance ball chair is an entirely different experience than sitting on a standard office chair.
They can be relaxing and provide significant benefits to your posture and overall fitness throughout the day if used correctly.
It is easy to find yourself slumped over in your office chair throughout the day
This is not possible if you use a balance ball chair. From your legs to your abdominal muscles, you will notice a difference in the way your body reacts to sitting on an unstable surface.
Ball chairs are typically made from PVC and come in different size diameters. The size of the ball will directly correlate to the size of the person it is made to accommodate.
Manufacturers also test the ball chairs and give you a max weight capacity. They will also check them under extreme amounts of pressure to make sure they do not burst under everyday usage.
You can find ball chairs that come with added features like back or armrests
These added features will increase the overall stability of the chair. With the added stability, you do lose some of the health benefits that a chair without them has. You still will maintain a better posture and work your core throughout the day, but not nearly as much.
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Isokinetics Inc Adjustable Fitness Ball Chair
Bottom Line: With adjustable legs and back and a sturdy metal frame and rubber lumbar support, this is the best overall balance ball chair for your money.
While most ball chairs offer limited adjustability, the Isokinetics Inc. Adjustable Fitness Ball Chair isnt one of them, letting you adjust both the legs and back similar to a traditional chair. You can set the legs to 4 different heights, and the back to four different positions to find the most comfortable position. Plus, with so many color options, its an excellent ball chair for any setting.
We love the choice of metal as the material for the base of the Isokinetics Chair, which departs from most other ball chairs with a stand that are made of plastic. This should hold up better over time. The backrest consist of a rubber cylinder thats also quite comfortable to rest your back on from time to time.
Another feature that sets the Isokinetics ball chair apart from the competition is the size of the wheels. While most office chairs have 2 wheels, this one has 2.5 wheels that provide more stability, durability, and maneuverability.
With all the adjustable features and long lasting metal frame, this is bar none the best balance chair you can get to help improve your posture and engage your core as you work.
Benefits Of A Yoga Ball Chair Summary
If youre in the market for a new office chair, consider getting a yoga ball chair instead. The benefits of a yoga ball chair aside, sitting and bouncing on one is fun.
The ball can be removed from its frame to include in your exercise routine. Pop it back into the frame after your workout for compact storage, and it will be ready for you to use as a chair.
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Gaiam Essentials Balance Ball
Maximum Ball Diameter: Up to 25 inches, Recommended Seat Height: up to 6, Weight Capacity: up to 300 lbs
The Gaiam Essentials Balance Ball is a high-quality durable anti-burst comfortable yoga ball seat that corrects alignment, supports the back, and strengthens the core. The ball helps relax muscle stiffness associated with sitting for extended periods. The inflatable ring base fixes the ball in position and can be removed while doing any workout. This multipurpose ball is a perfect tool not only for correcting alignment but also for performing yoga and Pilates.
Designed To: Offer proper back support, promote spine alignment, improve posture, and be used in physical therapy, yoga, and Pilates.
These are the best quality exercise ball chairs to support your back and correct your posture. In the following section, we have discussed why an exercise ball chair is good for you.
Best Ball Chair On A Budget: What You Can Get For Under $45
While some ball chairs can be a bit expensive, there are definitely options for those on a budget. You might not be able to find something that doesnt evoke exercise or the gym, but you will be able to find the best ball chair thats supportive and multi-purpose to help fight off pain and strain without breaking the bank.
Best budget ball chair: Trideer Ball Chair
This balance ball from Trideer is perfect for stretching, stability, and strength training. Plus, it comes with an inflatable base for easy conversion into a great ball chair. It comes in two sizes: 26 and 30 inches and two colors: black and silver. Plus, its super durable, slip-resistant, and rated for up to 2,000 pounds.
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Gaiam Kids Balance Ball Chair
Best Kids Balance Ball
Introducing you with another ball chair for kids from the famous brand Gaiam. The balance chair will increase their concentration. It is appropriate for kids for 42 inch 51 inch.
The ball can carry 175 pounds. Its enough for carrying a healthy kid. The chair comes with an anti-burst ball of 38 cm.
The chair is 2 feet tall and 20 inch wide. There is a support bar that will reduce back pain. Having 4 easy-glide caster wheels, the chair is easy to move. There is also an air pumper included with the product
- 2 lockable wheels and total 4 wheels.
- Appropriate for kids of 5-7 years old.
- Weight capacity of 175 pounds.
What Are The Benefits Of A Yoga Ball Chair
Do you find yourself regularly experiencing lower back pain, poor posture, and/or neck ache during or after work? Sitting in a standard office chair for long periods of time can cause problems such as these. A yoga ball office chair has a range of benefits that can help combat these, including:
- Improved posture – the instability of a ball means you need to engage your core and sit straight to remain stable.
- Reduction in back pain – the increased movement and better posture helps to alleviate back pain caused by sitting in the same position for long periods of time.
- Stronger core muscles – the constant engagement of your core for stability and the upright position will develop your core much better than a standard chair, and core muscles are essential for protecting your body from injuries, easing and preventing further back pain.
- Readily accessible workouts – most of these yoga ball chairs can instantly be repurposed as just a fitness ball, meaning you can easily fit in an office workout without having to trek to the gym!
- Increase in energy and productivity – the increased movement involved with keeping yourself stable on a yoga ball computer chair is purported to aid your ability to focus, and will therefore boost your productivity levels whilst at work at the same time as improving your health.
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Is An Exercise Ball Chair Good For Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and want to work while sitting on an exercise ball, check with your doctor or obstetrician to make sure this is safe for you. Research has connected the use of an exercise ball during pregnancy with reduced low back pain and improvements in daily life. But these studies involve using the ball chair for exercise and for only limited amounts of time.
Drawbacks Of Exercise Ball Chairs
Some studies have found little to no connection between using an exercise ball in the workplace and the purported benefits. In fact, some of the research shows the potential for injury.
- No core activation: Researchers are split on the theory that sitting on an exercise ball increases core strength. While one analysis found that this form of active sitting engages the core muscles, others found no difference in how the core is used between an exercise ball and a regular desk chair.
- Insignificant calorie burn: If there’s any increased energy expenditure when sitting on an exercise ball, it’s likely fractional and not enough to reduce the health risks of sitting too long, according to a 2015 study.
- Increased pain: Sitting for prolonged periods can lead to back pain, but using a stability ball may have a similar effect. One study found almost half of those who used the ball reported some pain when using it.
- Greater injury risk: Because an exercise ball chair is unstable, there is a potential for injury if you lose your balance and fall off the ball. You may also be injured if it breaks while you are sitting on it.
If you experience any pain when using an exercise ball as a chair, discuss it with your medical provider and consider discontinuing use.
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Luxfit Premium Fitness Exercise Ball Chair
Bottom Line: Durable ball and ergonomically designed stand and backrest.
When getting a ball chair, its always smart to buy one that can handle all possible use cases ahead of time, and the Luxfit Exercise Ball Chair does just that. The hallmark feature of the ball chair is the removable stand and backrest, which instantly doubles the chairs function from exercise ball to also a traditional chair that helps engage your core and promote a straight back. The backrest that extends upwards of 2.5 feet allows lets you lean back against it and relax if you want a break from engaging your core muscles while working, something that most ball chairs even with a stand dont offer.
The build quality of the LuxFit Ball Chair is superb, with extra thick lining and large heavy duty wheels to move the ball from room to room effortlessly. The two back wheels lock on demand, which is especailly helpful when youre using it an an exercise equipment. It supports a weight capacity of up to 300 lbs. All in all you cant go wrong with the Luxfit Chair, both as a ball chair and exercise ball.
Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair
Presenting you the first fitness expert deck chair from our list. The chair comes with a flexible design. It is created by having the suggestion of some health and fitness experts.
The chair is perfect for people of 5 feet to 5 feet 11 inch. No worry about weight capacity. It is capable of holding 300 pounds. There is a back support bar for extra security. I must appreciate the smooth wheeling system. There are 4 wheels for easy transportation. 2 wheels are lockable.
Happy to know that the chair includes some additional equipment. You will get a removable exercise ball and an air pumper. Another useful thing is the instruction paper. The chair also consists of some other useful features.
- Get a flexible sitting position.
- High load capacity.
- Additional exercise ball and pumper.
- The chair is 2.5 feet tall and 20 inch wide.
- Fit to almost all types of desks.
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