Should You Swap Your Chair For An Exercise Ball?
Is replacing your desk chair with a exercise ball to sneak in core exercises while you work a multi takers dream?
Sitting on a chair requires no muscle activity
In fact, it can harm your body for a number of reasons. “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,” says Dr. John Porcari a physiologist at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. With the proper posture you can engage subtle muscle contractions in your core, hip, and leg muscles that help you improve balance and increase muscle tone.
Sitting on a exercise ball has its drawbacks as well
Assistant professor Jessica Matthews of exercise science at Miramar College in San Diego states, “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.”
But there is a happy medium
Alternating between a desk chair and a exercise ball in 20- to 30-minute intervals is a good option. Matthews recommends, “(Inflating) the ball to its proper height; your thighs should be parallel to the floor when you’re seated on the ball. A 45 cm ball works best for women under 5 feet tall; a 55 cm ball fits women between 5’ to 5’ 7” and a 65 cm ball is best for folks 5’8” and over.”
Moral of the story
Sitting on a exercise ball is not a cure all for your core strength needs. But if used properly, it can be a beneficial alternative to your standard desk chair.