Using a Yoga ball office chair is a new trend found in modern offices around the world. It might look strange at first, but there are good reasons to use a exercise ball as a chair.
The people who replace their chairs with Yoga balls claim it offers a wide range of health benefits. Is it true? Or is it more of a myth? The truth might surprise you.
Although it might sound (and look) silly there are good reasons to use a Yoga ball as a chair, especially in your office. In this post I'll reveal the potential benefits of using a Yoga ball as an office chair.
Let's get started.
Are Stability Ball Chairs Good for You?
Sitting on a stability ball is good for you because in order to keep your balance your core stability muscles need to be engaged. It also improves you posture by forcing your back to remain straight at all times.
When you sit on an office chair, chances are you're unconsciously slouching and curving your back which places unnecessary amounts of pressure on your lower spine. Overtime, that curve can create a weak posture and back. It's one reason most office workers have bad backs.
Have you ever performed a strict squat in the gym? Sitting on an exercise ball forces your body to remain in the bottom position of a squat, except with support beneath you. It might sound uncomfortable at first but bear with me.
Below is a picture of a chair squat:
You can try it now. If you're sitting on an office chair, learn forwards a bit, shoulders back, keep your back straight, and make sure your feet are about shoulder width apart. Make sure your feet are flat on the ground too. Doesn't feel too bad, right? That position takes pressure off your lower spine.
There's also a theory that sitting with correct posture improves your energy and focus levels. Do you ever wonder why people lean forward when they're concentrating on something?
Does Sitting Upright Improve Focus?
I think we all agree our mental energy drains rather quickly when working in an office setting and staring at a computer screen. It goes without saying if we can improve our focus and energy levels, we can be many times more productive.
As it turns out, your posture might be an important factor. Although most of the advice out there borders on metaphysics and pseudoscience, there is some good evidence to support the idea.
Most people report when they sit straight with proper posture they feel more alert and focused. It's similar to how people who adopt open body poses feel more confident. There are even studies that show body language can boost testosterone levels.
Check out this awesome Ted Talks video about the topic below. You might even be able to improve your performance in your next job interview or big appointment with these simple techniques. I know I use them.
Although there is some debate regarding the best sitting posture, most studies show a 90 degree angle is ideal for your mental focus and health. What this means is your hips and back create a 90 degree angle. Using a Yoga ball office chair helps maintain this angle, so it can offer some mental health benefits as well.
Need help assessing your sitting posture? Take 5 and take a look at this post: How to Improve Your Sitting Posture.
Are Yoga Ball Chairs Dangerous?
Sitting on a Yoga ball might seem dangerous. The truth is there are some dangers involved but they can be avoided by following certain guidelines.
For one, make sure to use the appropriate size for your body.
If you're tall, use a larger one. Secondly, make sure to use a Yoga ball stability ring or base if you're concerned about safety or have issues with balance. These are small rings or platforms you place underneath the ball to prevent it from rolling away.
Just keep in mind, using a Yoga ball as a chair does require a certain level of balance and fitness. If you have lower back pain when switching to an exercise ball chair, it's best to avoid it, and continue using your regular chair.
Need help with your lower back? Check out these 10 chronic lower back pain relief exercises that you can do from home.
Another point to remember is you should use a Yoga ball chair in small increments. For example, use the ball for an hour or so, and then switch back to your regular chair. It might take a while for your body to adjust to the new position so take your time with it.
Yoga Ball Office Chair Size:
As we mentioned earlier, the size of the ball chair is incredibly important. Too small, and you won't be able to reach your desk. Too large, your eye-level won't be aligned with your monitor, creating more strain on your neck.
The trick is to find the right Yoga ball office chair size for you and your desk. Luckily, it's not as complicated as you might think. You don't need to try out a bunch of sizes.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to measure your current chair, from floor to seat, with a measuring tape. Next, compare the measurement to the exercise ball sizes.
Most of the Yoga balls are measured from top to bottom, not diameter, so you can easily know the height of the specific ball. Buy one that matches the measurement or as close to it as possible, inflate it, and see if it's a good fit.
Here's a chart that might help:
- 5 to 5.5ft - 55 cm ball.
- 5.6 to 6.1 - 65 cm
- 6.2 to 6.8 - 75 cm.
Since you can't adjust the height of the gym ball, it might help if you can adjust the size of your desk. Check out this post on my favorite height adjustable standing desk.
Need a visual? Check out this video for a quick review of how your sitting posture should look on an appropriate sized ball.
Luckily, gyms balls are quite cheap so if you don't get the perfect size on the first shot you can order another one. Some companies will even replace it for you, free of charge.
The Best Exercise Ball for Sitting at a Desk?
You're probably wondering what is the best exercise ball for sitting at a desk. The truth is there is no best gym ball. Most gym-grade products are quite similar, it boils down to your personal preferences such as material, color selection, sizes, etc.
The list below is our personal favorites, although there are many other models which can accomplish the task.
URBN Fit is a well-known company for gym equipment and accessories. Not only are they're exercise balls high quality but also come in a wide range of colors and sizes. They're budget friendly too. Hit the link above to check out our review.
Epitomie Fitness is another great company in the fitness industry. The difference between this particular model and the previous model is this one comes with exercise charts printed on the sides of the product. It also includes a helpful eBook and a selection of colors and sizes.
Trideer is a favorite because they have the widest variation of products. For example, there are over 30 colors of Trideer exercise balls for you to pick from, including some unique patterns. There are also exercise balls specifically designed for kids. Most Trideer inflatable products include a foot-pump which makes it much easier on your arms.
Remember to Buy an Exercise Ball Base:
As we mentioned earlier, if you're going to use an exercise ball as a desk chair, it is important to buy a base to stabilize the ball. Otherwise, it might roll away, and the fun of chasing your chair across the office dies quick. Take a look at this one from Trideer on Amazon.
Yoga Ball Office Chair Downsides:
Though some people benefit both physically and mentally from using an exercise ball as a desk chair, others don't. As with most things in life, there is no ultimate solution for everyone.
Everyone is unique. Besides the dangers mentioned earlier, there are some other downsides worth talking about.
1. Can Be Uncomfortable in Summer:
I think we can all agree rubber and skin aren't a good mix, especially during the hot season. Most of the people who regularly use exercise balls as chairs mention the ball becomes sticky during the summer. Not pleasant. You can get a non latex ball which will help with this issue.
2. No Lumbar Support:
Lumbar is another way to describe your lower back area, an area that pains most people. Most ergonomic desk chairs provide lumbar support, a small cushioned portion that supports your lower back.
Yoga ball office chairs don't provide any back support. In other words, if you need lumbar support, maybe using an exercise ball as a desk chair is not a great idea.
Other than that, there aren't many downsides to using a exercise or yoga ball as a chair.
To wrap up this post, it's important to remember using a Yoga ball office chair is not for everyone. While some people love it and claim it dramatically improved their lives, others hate it.
There's no way for me to guess if it's right for you, but trying it is cheap and I think it's worth a shot. If you feel like your posture could use some improvement, I say go ahead and grab an exercise ball and create your own exercise ball desk chair.
Just remember size is important. Make sure to follow the chart and video mentioned earlier to match your height with the appropriate exercise ball size.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post about Why you Should Use a Yoga Ball Office Chair. Don't forget to leave a comment if you have any questions or feedback.