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Why You Should Sit on a Ball at Work


A few months ago—after I decided that assembling a treadmill desk was beyond the scope of what I was willing to do to get exercise in the office—I decided to switch out my office chair for an exercise ball.

I had heard good reports from people who had tried it, so I went on Amazon and ponied up $15 for an anti-burst ball. (I got the 75cm one because I'm a big guy, but most people are good with 65 cm, I believe.)

Here's what I've found since it arrived—and keep in mind that I work from home so some of the following may be frowned upon at your workplace:

  • While some people claim that their backs get sore from sitting on the ball all day, I've found the exact opposite to be true. I have much less back pain in general. Perhaps it's because the ball makes me sit with a better posture now.
  • I'm constantly moving around ever-so-slightly, which I'm told is good for my core muscles. Mainly, it keeps me from falling asleep, and I have noticed that I'm a bit more energetic in general.
  • If I'm bored, I can lift my legs up and try to balance for a while. I'm getting pretty good at it; I now only fall off the ball once a day or so.
  • I'm much more likely to do other exercises in my office now that I have a platform for doing them—I even printed out a list of exercises you can do in a small space with an exercise ball.

Here are some minor annoyances (that may be specific to my situation):

  • I have to repump it every week, which is exercise in and of itself.
  • The hand pump that came with it is basically useless. I simply took the nozzle from that pump and attached it to a functional one.
  • It sometimes wanders off, which my old desk chair never seemed to do.

Overall, though, it's been pretty great, and I highly recommend getting one if you can. It's cheap, fun, and motivating.

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