When you browse online office chairs sites, all sorts of fancy, stylish, cheap and expensive office chairs is what you expect to see. But how would yo react if you encounter a stability ball among them? Sitting on a stability ball in the office for more than 6 hours … doesn’t sound very attractive to me, although to some people it does. So let’s see what’s behind this rather crazy idea of replacing office chairs with stability balls.
More and more people experience LBP or low back pain from sitting for a long period of time. Low back pain is a common muscolosceletal disorder, mainly caused by inadequate inter-vertebral disk nutrition, spinal ligaments stress-relaxation relationship or from fatigued muscles. Prolonged sitting is bad because it causes increased stress on the muscles and ligaments of the low back. This leads to increased fatigue of the muscles and injury to soft tissues.
However, when you browse online office chairs offers, you most likely will not find anything that claims that you will not experience LBP. So basically, everyone will eventually feel some degree of LBP. Obviously, something must be done. You can’t shorten the sitting time, but you can find a better sitting position. Or at least that’s the basic claim for stability balls. We compared the characteristics of a stability ball and an office chair and it seems like an office chair is a better option after all.
- A stability ball is a fitness equipment, mainly used in yoga and pilates for improving balance, posture and stability. Sitting on a stability ball requires energy, concentration and strength to keep your back muscles tight and in the position to ensure balance. Naturally, one can sit in such position for a short time only, and definitely not for hours. An office chair on the contrary, is designed for relaxed sitting. You don’t need to be tight and concentrated on keeping your balance, since you have back support.
- There have been claims that a stability ball provides more comfort when sitting for a prolonged period of time when compared to an office. These claims proved wrong. Actually when you sit on a stability ball, there is an increase in contact surface, which is distributed uniformly, unlike with the office chair.
- The unstable nature of the stability ball will contribute to increased lumbar movement. Wrong! Compared to an office chair, there is no big difference between the two, but an enhanced spinal shrinkage has been detected.
- A stability ball does not have a back support, nor armrest, so it’s far from comfortable for sitting and concentrating on your work at the same time.
- Office chairs are height adjustable, stability balls aren’t. So you may have a problem to sit comfortably and work while having trouble reaching for things. Moreover, a stability ball is not mobile; it’s not stable and it rolls away when you stand up.
In conclusion, a stability ball should not be used for sitting for a prolonged period of time. It will make you feel more tired than you normally are since, don’t forget, this is an exercising equipment designed to put pressure on your muscles and strengthen them, not to relax you. So, start browsing online office chairs offers. There is a wide range of ergonomic office chairs for you to choose from. Finding the best chair that will complement your back perfectly and make you feel relaxed and comfortable while working should not be a problem.