On The Ball

I have never suffered from a bad back or neck. That`s a miracle really, as I have spent many many yearbs and many many long hours sat in ridiculous positions on a wide range of cheap, inadequate office furniture. I slouch. I slump. I sit with my knee up. I even find myself sitting cross legged on my desk chair now and then.

As my latest desk chair disintegrates I thought I`d try something different, and after browsing around Amazon for a while, noticed this ball chair design. I must admit though, I thought It looked a bit ridiculous. Then after a trip to the office, I noticed a colleague (who suffers from a recurring back problem) had a yoga ball on its own, so I decided I would give one a try myself.

Because you can pick one up for less than a tenner, it’s not exactly a great outlay for having a go, or to lose if you hate the thing.

So after spending a week of sitting on a 65cm yoga ball (you need to get the right diameter for your height), here are my reflections:

Pros

  • I automatically sit with good posture on it for 90% of the time.
  • It’s comfortable for long periods.
  • I bounce. A lot. I don’t even notice it, but I guess this must count as exercise. I can now eat more pies.
  • Something about bouncing helps me concentrate. A bit like chewing gum.
  • I don’t get sleepy, it somehow keeps me alert. I don’t think it’s the fear of falling on my backside, but it could be.
  • It was cheap.
  • I can push it away right under my desk and it takes up no space.
  • A yoga ball is easy to keep clean, and won’t gather dust like the plastic bits of desk chairs.
  • If you get a red one it could become a useful Comic Relief accessory (btw Amazon, I actually wanted blue!)
  • If you need to, you can deflate it and take it with you. They pack up really small.
  • It makes a great percussion instrument by beating it with hands.

Cons

  • I woke up after my first day with back ache. That seems a bit of a show stopper. But I think this was simply because my body was not used to good posture. After 3 days this ache had gone away.
  • Its an inflated ball made of rubber (well something air-tight and plasticy at least) There is no room for any ‘breathing’ so it makes you sweat. This could be the bouncing. Maybe bouncing right off the ball each time may solve this with the added ventilation. I am, however, looking for a cover but they are very hard to find. Those I have found have been many times more expensive than the ball itself, like this one.

  • Sometimes you just want to sit back and reflect. This isn`t advisable on a yoga ball, unless you reflect well from the floor.
  • It IS still possible to slouch. I seem to have adapted quickly and discovered new slouching methods. They are short lived, however.
  • Its possible to fall off. I haven’t. But I’m sure it’s possible, whilst this keeps you on your toes, it could make some people a bit nervous.
  • If you left something lying about, like a drawing pin, and got a bit bouncy there is potential for a minor disaster. However, many of these yoga balls claim to be ‘anti burst’ which I believe just means they are constructed to go down slowly if punctured rather than popping with balloon-like drama.
  • You can’t wheel yourself about between desks so easily. Now with a couple of space hopper style antlers this would be solved and add even more fun.

So, that looks like more Pros than Cons. But I’m keeping it. I’ll spend a lot of time bouncing on the ball during the work week, and other times when I need to sit back and reflect I’ll use the desk chair for variation.

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