In the ongoing saga of “Your blogger is employed to use a computer for 8-or-so-hours-per-day and refuses to stand the entire time”: I had a custom-purchased-for-me chair without arms which broke; I alternated between a standard office chair and my home exercise ball*; now I have a work exercise ball.
And how, you might be wondering, is sitting on the exercise ball going?
Until today, I thought it was going great. Yes, a lot of the time I’m just sitting there. But it’s also fun to pick my feet off the floor and see how long I can balance when I’m on hold, or to rock back and forth or bounce (slightly) in time to music.
At first my back would start to feel the lack of back support after an hour or so, and I’d swap the ball for my standard desk chair. The standard chair’s arms a bit tight for longterm confort – in fact, I tend to “feel” them on my thighs all evening if I sit in the standard chair all day – but the back support is fine, and swapping every couple hours works out great.
After a few weeks I was regularly sitting on the ball all the time I was at my desk. Sure, at meetings I’d sit in a chair, but at my desk I was on the ball.
Which leads me to today. Today, my lower back and abs are sore. Even my sides are sore. How’d that happen?
Well, according to proponents, “the constant adjustment and readjustment that your body makes on the ball will work your core muscles — even sitting at your desk.” The potential strain this can put on your lower back and spine is, in fact, why some ergonomics specialists recommend not using a ball at work. The research I’ve found doesn’t see much difference between sitting on a ball or a chair, but it only deals with durations of 30 or 60 minutes, not a full day (or week).
In this specific case, I think it was a combination of sitting in nice, stable chairs for most of the weekend, listening to music that makes me want to dance (or at least shimmy my hips) today, and not having any meetings. I also think I will be using my chair a bit more tomorrow than I did today.
*Also called a Swiss ball, fit ball, fitness ball, stability ball, et cetera. My home ball is rated to 500lbs; my work ball is rated to 600lbs.