We are sitting more now than at any point in history. We used to work on farms and in factories. We used to hand-craft barrels or hammer out horse shoes or weave rugs. Now most of us are office workers, sitting on our keisters all day.
Using “active sitting” part of each day puts your core muscles back to work and engages you more physically in your desk job.
An exercise ball is the most affordable option for active sitting.
I don’t recommend an exercise ball as a replacement to your nice, ergonomic office chair. There are many critics of using exercise balls as chairs, and they make many good points. Still, even the critics always mention the benefits of short stints in an active sitting position.
Tips for Using an Exercise Ball as a Chair
- Safety first. The inherent instability of a fitness ball makes it both a great exercise device and a potential safety hazard. Be attentive and deliberate as you get on and off your exercise ball. And use an exercise-ball base to keep the ball from rolling around.
- Get a sturdy, burst-resistant exercise ball.
- Get the right size ball for your body. Exact fit depends on your leg length, but generally if you are of average height (5’2″-6’2″) a 65 cm diameter ball should work. If you are taller, get a 75 cm ball. If you are shorter, try a 55 cm ball or let some of the air out of a 65 cm ball.
- Inflate your exercise ball so that your hips are higher than your knees by just a bit when your feet are flat on the floor.
- Sit actively. Pull your belly button toward your spine. Roll your shoulders up and back and lift up your sternum.
- Have fun. Go ahead and bounce up and down from time to time.
Other Active Sitting Options
Exercise balls aren’t your only option for active sitting. Another affordable option is a sitting disc ($15-$30), which you use with your office chair. If you want to splurge, consider the fancy, high-tech Salli MultiAdjuster ($999.00).
Remember, variety is the spice of life. So in addition to your time sitting on an exercise ball, mix up your work day with time at a stand-up desk, in a good ergonomic chair, or with a walking meeting.
Active Sitting, Wikipedia
Healthy Computing Tip 410: Have a Ball, San Francisco State University Ergonomic Safety Program
How to Use an Exercise Ball as an Office Chair (video), Livestrong.com
Get On the Ball with Active Sitting, ActiveForever.com