Ergonomics done right.®
September 23rd, 2013

Think Twice About Exercise Balls in the Office

by J’ai Watson

Using an exercise ball as a desk chair may be a “cool” or “fun” idea, but definitely not a safe one.  The idea behind using an exercise ball as a desk chair is for individuals to partake in active versus passive sitting.  Active sitting requires constant activation of the core musculature to stabilize the core, ultimately allowing an individual to “exercise” while working.  Sounds like an ideal situation, right?

During contraction, muscles shorten and place a high amount of compression on the intervertebral discs of the spine.  Constant compression causes the pelvis to rotate forward flattening the natural curve of the lumbar spine, which adds further compression to the intervertebral discs.  Not to mention other safety risks such as falling off the ball; excessive strain from continued muscular exertion; and the potential risk of sudden deflation when using an exercise ball use as a desk chair.

Thus, while exercise balls may be useful at the gym or in a therapeutic setting, they will continue to lack the adjustability and support that a proper ergonomic chair provides such as an adjustable seat depth and angle, lumbar support, and armrests. Check out this video for a fun take on “office ball seating”.