Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bouncing While You Work -- Swapping Your Desk Chair for a Stability Ball

Emerald Ong, ASHA graphic designer
extraordinaire and owner of Ongward
Phote: Ben Sledge
I recently swapped my fancy ergonomic desk chair for a stability ball. Last December, I had surgery on my hip to repair a torn labrum I got falling off my bike. By June, I was back to running a few miles and finished a sprint distance triathlon, but it still didn't feel great. Then, I started sitting on the stability ball and now I actually feel better at the end of the workday than the beginning. And, the ball totally suits my fidgety disposition. 

Some say sitting on a stability ball is better for your posture, some say it's good for low back pain, others say it burns additional calories and strengthens your core. The studies I read really aren't that compelling. The extra calorie burn -- a whopping 30 calories per day. That doesn't count the calories you burn bouncing and getting up to get things you can't roll to like you can in a chair though. The ergonomic specialist we work with does not recommend sitting on stability ball because you can loose your balance while turning and reaching. (I'm more worried about falling off my bike again than my ball.)

I'm 5'4" and chose a 65 cm ball. I don't fully inflate it so my feet hit the floor. It's the perfect height for my desk. I recommend the Thera-Band Pro Series SCP Stability Balls balls from Perform Better. At $38.95 it's a great deal. Especially when you compare it to the versions mentioned in this New York Times article -- $225 for a ball? 

If you work at ASHA, feel free to borrow a ball from the exercise room to see how you like it before ordering one. Just pick it up after 8:30 and return it by 4:00, so it's available for our fitness classes. 

Many thanks to Emerald for letting me use her picture.