If you are looking to perform some core exercises while at work, you could replace your regular office chair with an exercise ball. This has become quite the trend but how effective is it actually?

Sitting on a chair requires pretty much no muscle activity and it can actually hurt for a number of reasons:

  • When sitting on chairs, people tend to slouch or hunch and display bad posture.
  • Sitting in a chair actually puts your abs into slack mode which decreases your core strength.

Using an exercise ball will counteract poor posture as well as the slacking of your abs.

Fitness professionals’ words of advice

Don’t think that just because you’ve hoofed out your office chair in favour of an exercise ball that your posture will be automatically corrected! Larry G Merritt and Celynne M Merritt – in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association – speculate that the reason for this is a lack of knowledge (on the part of people swopping out their chairs for exercise balls.)

Sitting properly on a ball will require muscular contractions of the core and your hip and leg muscles will be used to maintain balance which will also contribute to muscle tone. Watch this video to discover how you should be sitting on an exercise ball:

Sitting on an excise ball at work can help you with many things but there are of course a couple of drawbacks.

Studies by fitness professionals have found that sitting on a ball can increase the load on the lower back and some discomfort over time. It is a good idea if you stand up and walk around a bit every now and then to get your circulation going.

A workable solution

Instead of kicking the chair to the curb and using only an exercise ball, or forgetting about the ball completely and using only the chair, why not alternate between the two? You could sit on the chair for a couple of hours and then the exercise ball for an hour and so on.

Before using the exercise ball, ensure that it is inflated properly. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor when you’re sitting on it. An exercise ball that is too soft can cause discomfort and it can be difficult to stay on the ball. Also ensure that you get the correct size of exercise ball.

A strong core is beneficial in any type of exercise – any personal trainer worth his or her salt will tell you this! Pilates – which was developed by Joseph Pilates – is one of the best methods for developing core strength. At Trifocus Fitness Academy, we offer the opportunity for personal trainers (and anyone else wanting to learn about Pilates) to learn about Pilates ball exercises on our Pilates Ballwork Course. Follow this link to find out more.