Should Office Chairs Bounce? Exercise Balls Bring Pros and Cons
Thursday, February 16, 2023
As homes simultaneously transformed into workplaces and gyms during the COVID-19 pandemic, sales for balance balls skyrocketed. While the bouncing equipment strengthens core muscles during focused fitness routines, do they provide physical benefits when doubling as an office chair? Have marketing teams inflated the benefits to sell more product? Take a seat while reading the ups and downs of research on the topic.
- You may have heard the saying, “Sitting is the new smoking.” That’s because sedentary lifestyles lead to big health problems (like obesity, depression, cardiovascular issues and cancer). Bouncing on exercise balls keeps at least a little movement during seated work and even burns a few calories. One study on the National Library of Medicine website found that sitting on exercise balls burned 10% more calories than sitting on traditional surfaces.
- Having exercise balls accessible, people can squeeze in a few reps of core-strengthening exercises while on break or during a conference call (when the video is off).
- We hate to pop the ballistic benefit reports, but inflatable chair replacements came with questionable hype. A study on the Sage Journals website could not identify evidence that using exercise balls as office chairs strengthened posture or activated muscles.
- Another study on the National Library of Medicine website comparing inflatable exercise balls with traditional office chairs found the balls increased discomfort in participants.
- Doctors have noted that using exercise balls can worsen symptoms and situations for people who already suffer from back conditions.
Take a stand for healthy habits
While innovative ergonomic chairs and chair alternatives will continue to come and go, doctors agree that getting up and moving around will always be a winning answer. So, try taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes and suggest walking meetings with colleagues when possible.
Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.