We’ve all come across exercise balls in the past. But ball chairs are one of the newest phenomena to be introduced into the active seating world. They vary substantially and have different purposes. But what is a ball chair? And should you be swapping out your conventional office chair for a balance ball chair? Let’s debunk some of the myths surrounding ball chairs so you can decide whether you should invest in a ball chair or not! So, let’s get started!
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What Is A Ball Chair?
A balance ball chair is an exercise ball encompassed in a base which holds the ball in place while you sit on it. A ball chair enables the user to adopt a slightly different posture while sitting and encourages active movement along with improving stability and balance. Some balls are encased in a doughnut-shaped base while others feature a stand with caster wheels and may include a backrest.
Balance ball chairs go by a number of different names, including exercise ball chair and yoga ball chair.
The exercise ball can usually be removed and used for exercise as well.
Now that you know the basic idea of what a ball chair is, you’re probably wondering if they’re any good? So, before you go throwing out your good chair, take a few moments to read through the below sections. Find out how they work, if they’re even comfortable to use and if they’re actually any good for you! This article will remove the guess work and save you pain, time and money.
Did you know? Yoga ball chairs burn approximately 4 extra calories an hour compared to sitting on a standard chair. Source
How does a yoga ball chair work?
Yoga ball chairs are usually targeted at an audience that want to:
- Improve their posture
- Relieve back pain
- Improve their stability and balance
- Reduce pain from sitting on a hard surface
- Increase number of calories burned
The balance ball chair introduces instability which force your body to maintain your position. This ultimately requires engaging your core and back muscles. Your back muscles will also be worked more if the exercise ball chair lacks a back rest.
All this extra fidgeting and movement then leads to those extra calories being burned.
Are ball chairs actually good for you?
Sadly, there’s currently little evidence to back up the advantages of a ball chair, as you will see in the video I shared below.
That said, there are few studies yet conducted on the effectiveness of balance ball chairs. However, there are a considerable number of studies on the effects of sitting on exercise balls.
Ball chairs may offer core strengthening provided you sit on the yoga ball chair correctly. Since balance ball chairs tend to lack good back support, it makes you much more prone to slouching. This could lead to back pain in the long run.
How to use a ball chair?
Ball chairs are typically recommended to be used for about 20 minutes at a go a few times a day.
The below 6 steps will help you to adopt a good posture while sitting on a ball chair.
- Inflate the balance ball so that it is at a height that allows you to rest your feet on the floor while sitting on it.
- Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips.
- When seated at an office desk, your eyes should be around the same height as the top of the screen.
- Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle.
- Your back should be upright as opposed to slouched.
- Aim to keep the balance ball stable while sitting on it by engaging your core.
If you find yourself feeling tired, discomfort or slouching, then you should get off the balance chair.
Are ball chairs comfortable?
There are mixed opinions on whether ball chairs are comfortable. Ultimately, it’s a personal preference. A yoga ball chair offers little back support and causes instability while sitting which can be tiresome on the body.
Due to the nature of how yoga balance chairs orientate your body, they are typically only suitable for use over short periods of time.
People who struggle with core strength, balance and posture may find them difficult to use.
Sitting on a balance chair can also be distracting as some of your focus will be placed on maintaining your posture and balance while sitting on it.
That said, there is a wide audience who advocate using ball chairs that find them more comfortable than a standard desk chair.
Ball chairs come in a number of designs which will ultimately dictate how comfortable they are.
Features including having a back support and a balance ball chair that is properly fitted to your height will go far in increasing your comfort levels.
Ball chairs are able to cater for a range of heights from 5 feet – 6 feet 3 inches tall.
Tip: Ball chairs offer around 8 inches of height adjustability which can make them suited for sharing.
Whether you will opt for an exercise ball chair will ultimately boil down to personal preference and the purpose for getting it.
While it will be a matter of testing out the balance ball chair to see if it feels comfortable, the general consensus is that they are not very ergonomic.
They can even lead to worsening posture if not used correctly.
However, following some of the simple techniques and pointers listed in this article can be the deciding factor between choosing your dream chair and a dud!
If you’d like to broaden your knowledge on alternatives to ball chairs, then these articles below are without a doubt worth a look!
Here are some other useful articles I wrote that you should go check out:
- Ball Chair V Office Chair – The Best Choice Revealed!
- Ball Chair V Standing Desk Chair – Easy & Helpful Comparison
- What is a kneeling chair? Beginners Guide
- Best Active Workstation Types – Ultimate Buyers Guide!
- Under Desk Treadmill Vs Desk Elliptical + Which Is Better!