WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JUN. 09, 2016
version 9, draft 9

Swiss Ball vs. Office Chair

business people on yoga balls
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So you’re probably wondering, swiss ball or office chair? More appropriately your probably wondering what the heck a swiss ball is, but I’ll get to that soon enough. Before I get into the specifics, I’d like to let you know that it has to do with all this hype regarding office workers’ health. It’s been well established that spending the majority of your day squarely on your round bottom can have catastrophic health and side effects, so some people have started to get creative with their work spaces, including using a treadmill, standing and even peddling desks. The raging office chair vs. swiss ball debate is a hot topic in the battlefield of health, so which office seating solution is the best? Let’s take a look.

See Also: 3 Ways Remote Working Is Not as Easy as You Think

Swiss Ball

The Swiss ball has many names, yet the same form; known alternatively as a stability ball, yoga ball and Pezzi Ball (named after the Italian plastics maker that patented the large puncture resistant sphere in 1963) it’s a huge inflatable sphere, used mainly for exercise, physiotherapy and recently as office furniture. Its proponents claim that the reason a yoga ball can be a better solution to a conventional desk chair primarily because it engages core muscles which are fully relaxed when sitting on a chair. Does this negate the negative effects of sitting for more than 7 hours or more a day? Kinda.

One study showed that two people that suffered from chronic back pain saw a noticeable alleviation of pain when sitting on the yoga ball. But the period that they had to sit was only 20 min per day. A Dutch study, on the other hand, found that sitting on an exercise ball did help increase core activity but led to more spinal shrinkage. A third British study that compared the posture of people sitting on an office chair compared to a stability or yoga ball found that posture deteriorated for both groups similarly after 30 minutes of sitting, thus negating and refuting the claim that a yoga ball can help keep posture correct for longer. So this is very much a damned if you do and damned if you don’t type of scenario..

Office Chair

This evil contraption that gives people heart disease increases the risk of certain types of cancers and diabetes, might just be misunderstood. The real culprit is sitting no matter what device your bum comes into contact with. Sure an exercise ball being used as an office chair does burn more calories, but it isn’t going to make you a runway model.

Using a yoga ball as an office chair burns a minuscule 30 calories more than parking your bum on a real chair, which is only the equivalent of 2 celery sticks. Yes, just two so put that third one in the fridge for tomorrow. Another benefit of a chair compared to what basically equates to a bag full of air is a chair has much few chances of failing catastrophically and injuring you than an exercise ball.

See Also: How To Keep Your Cool At Work

Is there something else that I forgot to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

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