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Why You Should Use an Exercise Ball Chair at Your Desk

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 6/22/2011

You may love your $400 office chair, but chances are it isn’t helping you stay fit at work. Add an exercise ball chair to your workplace wellness plan by substituting it for your regular chair.

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    Active Sitting With an Exercise Ball

    Ever heard the phrase “active sitting”? Active sitting is one of the keys to workplace wellness, forcing you to watch your posture and correct slumping over your desk at work.

    Active sitting refers to sitting on a surface that is constantly able to move. These surfaces include special devices like sitting discs or exercise balls. Unlike a standard chair, these surfaces force your body into an ergonomic position that leads to better posture, circulation, and productivity.

    In offices where employees sit still for many hours of the day, employers are throwing out standard-issue office chairs in favor of exercise balls as a way to augment workplace wellness. There are many health reasons why you should consider substituting an exercise ball for your regular chair at work.

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    The Benefits of Sitting on an Exercise Ball Chair

    Because an exercise ball is unstable, your body is forced to balance itself. The only way to stay atop the exercise ball chair is to maintain proper posture, which improves back strength and should decrease any back pain you might have from sitting long hours at work.

    As you adjust your body throughout the day to turn and answer the phone or lean over to grab paper from your printer, you’ll be forced to readjust yourself on the exercise ball. As your body moves, the exercise ball chair will move with you and force you to reengage your muscles to stay seated.

    You’ll benefit from having to shift positions several times a day, increasing your balance and reducing any aches and pains you might feel as a result sitting in the same position all day long in a regular chair. You may also feel more energetic; studies show that people who move all day rather than staying in one position have more energy to finish their work.

    All of this body adjusting forces you to engage your core muscles. All day long you’ll essentially be doing a low-impact core strength workout.

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    Burn More Calories at Work

    If you’re constantly moving on your exercise ball, you’ll also constantly be burning calories. It may not be as many as you’d burn at the gym, but it adds up over the course of a year. When you compare your movement on an exercise ball chair versus your movement on a standard office chair, the difference in energy expended to stay seated is significant.

    The other key advantage of having an exercise ball chair at work is that it puts a fitness tool within reach all the time. If you find yourself with a few minutes for a break, you can do easy mini-workouts on your exercise ball without having to leave your cubicle.

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    The Right Exercise Ball For Your Desk

    A typical exercise ball will run you anywhere between $10 and $30. Choose a ball that lets you sit in front of your desk with your legs comfortably sloping down towards the floor. You shouldn’t need to have your wrists balanced on your desk to be able to sit in the exercise ball chair.

    Exercise ball chairs are a cost-effective tool that help employees feel, and therefore, work better. With so many productivity-enhancing benefits, it’s easy to understand why employers are adding exercise ball chairs to their workplace wellness plans.