Sitting on an exercise ball at work may help build core strength and improve postural awareness. A 2008 study conducted by the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at State University of New York at Buffalo found that workers who sat on an exercise ball burned four more calories per hour than their colleagues who worked in a chair. If you are swapping out an office chair and replacing it with an exercise ball, be sure that you benefit from it by learning the proper seating form and best way to use the ball.
Use a ball that is the correct size for your height. Your legs should form a 90-degree angle when you sit on the middle of the ball. Use a smaller ball if your hips are higher than your knees. Pick a larger ball if your hips sink below your knees.
Sit on the middle of the ball and rest your feet on the floor in front of you. Straighten your back, relax your shoulders and pull your shoulder blades down and together. Assume and maintain this position when you are working on the ball. Don’t sink into the ball or cave your shoulders forward. This can take a bit of practice if you are used to hunching over your keyboard and desk.
Build endurance to reduce the risk of developing lower-back fatigue or muscular strain. Start with 15 minutes on the ball. Reduce your time if you are unable to maintain form. Prevent fatigue by rotating between a chair and the ball during long meetings.
Be safe. Avoid sudden movements, turning abruptly or straining to reach for an item when you are on the ball. These safety measures reduce the risk of falling or injuring yourself. Make sure the ball is properly inflated and check it regularly for damage.
Get to work -- the ball won’t magically transform your midsection. Build core strength by exercising on the ball. Bring your feet together to increase instability, making your core work harder to keep you upright. Lift one foot off the ground and raise your hands by your sides. Hold for a few seconds, then switch feet. This improves balance and strength.
Talk to your doctor about using a ball at work if you have any health concerns or questions.
Stick with a chair if you have back problems, osteoporosis or vertigo.