Why I'm Never Sitting in Another Chair Again (And You Won't Either)

Jeanne Sager

balance ball chairIt's been one week since the balance ball chair arrived.

I refuse to sit in anything else again. Trust me, you would too.

Let's back up.

I've been working a full-time job since March. Hello Stir readers! And for the first time in my life, I'm spending a whole day in one place.

Even when I was last full-time, I was at a newspaper office, which meant running to a farm here, the government center there, board meetings in the night. Even when I was "in the office" for a clump of time, I spent much of it running up and down the stairs because our office was stuck in the Dark Ages (and if you've ever worked in community journalism, you know I'm not exaggerating).

So fast-forward to now, gentle reader, and my back is killing me. Experts blame the root of back pain on a weak core -- muscles in the center of your body that have no strength.

Not to mention my butt is starting to take on that two-by-four stage heretofore only before seen during pregnancy.

It was time to get off the couch. But I had to sit all day.

Enter the balance ball (also known as the stability ball or exercise ball -- whatever fits your fancy, they're all the same thing).

Some schools are using them to help kids get their wiggles out during the day. And they help fight childhood obesity.

So I was all bring it on. Until I realized my balance ball from my short-lived "yay, I'm going to do yoga" phase was dead in the closet. And I read that if you don't sit quite right, you could actually end up making things worse by slumping forward.

Scratch that.

Then came a beautiful offer from Gaiam in the midst of my research. They told The Stir we could try out their balance ball chair -- and it was up to us to decide whether or not it works.

It's been a week.

I'm not getting off this thing.

It's got the basic premise that has keyed schools into the balance ball. In fact, it HAS a ball. The type you can remove from the plastic base and use in your exercise routine if you have time.

But unlike a ball by itself, which can get away from you if you're not careful (or if your dog is like mine and comes to "visit" during the day), the base of a balance ball chair keeps the ball in place.

So you're not getting the hard-core workout of a ball you're holding in place, but you're still getting a core workout during the day by balancing yourself on something round. And when you're feeling especially anxious (hello first day of kindergarten for my daughter!), you can bounce. Just like the kids do.

And what about the back pain? There's a back rest. Just like a traditional chair.

So you can lean back when you're feeling exhausted. Or having a brain fart. Here's the drawback to the chair -- the back doesn't actually "lean" back, so if you're hoping for that lazy feet up on the desk moment, you aren't going to get it.

Then again, that probably isn't good for your back, so I'm not so sure that's a flaw?

It's also arm rest free; which means no more awkward leaning on one side or the other (aka, better for your back, but a drawback if you're not going to be able to make the switch).

There are a host of different balance ball chairs out there -- Gaiam even has a variety themselves -- but this one retails for $99.98, no worse than a standard office chair.

Would you be willing to give up your desk chair for a workout?


Image via Gaiam

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