FOOD & FITNESS / APR. 07, 2014
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How to Use An Exercise Ball At Work

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When you think of an exercise ball, you may think of people at the gym or working out at home. The exercise ball is beginning to make an appearance elsewhere; the workplace. Perhaps you have seen someone at your office sitting on one. You may think it looks strange, but it is actually benefiting them. 

Benefits of an Exercise Ball

  1. Better Posture: When you sit in a chair that has a back rest, you tend to slouch more. This is hard on your back and affects your posture. While sitting on an exercise ball, you’re somewhat forced to sit up straight. There are no arm rests or back support; you have to sit up straight on your own. This will improve your overall posture. 
  2. Strengthen Your Core Muscles: Your core muscles are located deep within your body and help to stabilise and support all the movements you make. These muscles protect your spine and allow you to do everyday activities such as reaching, walking, bending, throwing, etc. Sitting on your exercise ball actually strengthens these crucial core muscles. 
  3. Protect Overall Spine and Back Health: Many physiotherapists and chiropractors will actually use these exercise balls in therapy; supporting optimal back and spine health. 

Why They Are Great For The Office

Not everyone has time to exercise. Many employees are also full time moms and dads, volunteers and employee elsewhere, etc. This is a great way to incorporate exercise into your work day. Some of us are sitting for eight to ten hours. By using an exercise ball at work you will:

  • Be more conscious of your body, improving posture
  • Have the ability to lean back or to the sides for a good stretch
  • Be able to perform simple exercises on the spot
  • Enjoy it. Let’s face it; it’s fun to bounce around a little (especially if your favourite song comes on)
  • Improve thought processes. Some have reported that small bouncing motions, help them to think
  • Increase your blood flow through movement

Concerns and Safety Precautions 

Like anything, there are precautions that should be taken. There can be some downsides to the exercise ball, but there are also ways to combat some of these downsides.

  • Depending on your height, the ball may not be optimal for your desk height. It tends to be easier to adjust a chair, in comparison to a whole work station. 
  • You can’t really lean back and relax for a few moments. This can be a good thing if you are really trying to focus on your core and posture. You can always use your desk ahead of you for a little support when needed. Your office chair is always an option throughout the day. Do not strain yourself if it is too much; intervals are key here. 
  • Can potentially slip off an exercise ball. This can occur because you are bouncing a little too much or your body is tired from lack of support. If you are new to exercise balls, introduce them in small increments. As mentioned, you can use your office chair as well as your exercise ball; incorporate balance with both options.

If you’re interested in improving your posture and health through exercise; look into an exercise ball for your workplace. Stick with short intervals (half hour at a time to start). Just make sure you are using the ball properly so that you do more good than harm. Read the manual that comes with the ball and you will be on your way to better posture and a beneficial seat. 

Do you have any experience (positive or negative) with an exercise ball at work? Please feel free to share below!

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