There’s been a flurry of articles of late about how sitting in a chair on a daily basis can cause long-term damage to our health. It turns out that sitting on an exercise ball isn’t much better. From the New York Times:

When Dr. Callaghan and his colleagues had healthy young volunteers sit alternately on a ball, an office chair, and a backless stool while machines measured muscle activity in their abdomens and lower backs, they found no meaningful differences in the seating options; sitting on a ball did not provide a mini-workout for the midsection.

There was one (very) slight benefit.

Workers on balls burned marginally more calories — about 4 per hour — than those on chairs.

It seems the only way to counter the health implications of sitting all day is to make sure you spend more of your time, well, not sitting.

  • Guest

    I appreciate the heads up, but I don’t think the referenced studies are really all that conclusive. These studies have the following group sizes (in order of appearance from the NY Times article): 14 (small improvement observed), 28, 8 and 24, respectively. Due to the extremely small sample size, I don’t think the conclusions warrant such an absolute statement.

  • The Pencilneck

    Two words: Treadmill Desk!

  • Ellane

    It all depends what you do while sitting on that ball, and how long at a time you spend sitting. I alternate between standing to work and sitting/rocking/bouncing/leaning back on my exercise ball. Never want to go back to a chair again! The key is to change position often. That’s it – just don’t be in any position on anything (chair or stationary feet) for too long at a time.

  • Joachim Schoder

    I have problems believing the claim that sitting on a ball isn’t good for your back. On the one hand they claim that people using balls sit the same way AND that new users complain about their back. If they sit the same how can their backs become worse?

    The point of a ball is permanentely changing how you sit and my years of experience show me that at least I am doing it.

blog comments powered by Disqus