Sitting on a normal office chair all day can have an adverse impact on your body, especially if you’re not sitting properly. That’s because most office chairs haven’t been designed with good posture in mind. Numerous studies have confirmed that sitting down for too long has negative effects such as the increased risk of diabetes and slowing down metabolism.
How sitting affects our body
When we’re standing up, our weight is transferred straight down through our feet to the floor. When we sit down, the weight gets shifted from our feet and transferred to the floor via the seat pan, back, and armrests which give our feet some relief.
Just like all other body movements, sitting down activates or relaxes specific muscles while also stressing various bones. While the biomechanics of sitting most commonly affects the spine, pelvis, hamstring muscles, and lower back areas of the body, this can change considerably depending on the type of chair being used. That’s where Swiss balls come in.
Swiss balls as office chairs
Also known as yoga balls, stability balls, exercise balls, or physio-balls, these large inflatable balls were originally invented by Swiss physiotherapists to help children with cerebral palsy improve their balance, strength, and reflexes. Swiss balls have grown in popularity since then, and are now most commonly used as exercise equipment in gyms, yoga classes, rehabilitation centers, and Pilates studios.
More recently, office workers have been replacing their traditional office chairs with these stability balls over the last decade. That’s because not only are they much cheaper than ergonomic chairs, standing desks, or office treadmill, they also provide excellent postural alignment while also improving sitting tolerances.
Sitting on a Swiss ball all day helps keep your core engaged while working your muscles, which makes you stronger, burns extra calories, and can even result in increased alertness. In fact, there are actually many positive reasons why Swiss balls have become so popular over recent years.
Sitting on a Swiss ball office chair helps ensure you’re sitting correctly by engaging and strengthening your core muscles while supporting your spine and making it more flexible. Simply having an aligned spine, it will naturally cause you to sit up straighter, walk taller, and have a much better posture overall. However, if you are experiencing any kind of foot pain from walking, running, or sitting, then you may need to consult with a podiatrist to see whether or not you need orthotic insoles.
Balancing while you sit will force you to engage your lower back, abdominal region, and pelvic floor muscles for extended periods of time. Swiss ball chairs will also encourage more movement, which will help ensure your body is properly stabilized and correctly aligned.
Relieve back pain
Swiss balls help improve blood circulation by encouraging it to flow throughout the body, which is actually very helpful when it comes to relieving pain. It also ensures your spine stays aligned which also helps reduce back pain because you’re less likely to slouch or sit in a position that places unnecessary strain on your spine.
Because sitting on a Swiss ball engages your core muscles, it also improves your core stability of the deep muscles located close to your spine. Building stability and strengthening of your core has countless advantages, such as injury prevention, reduced pain, and even added protection and health of your internal organs.
Improved brain activity
Thanks to numerous studies over the years, there’s long been overwhelming evidence that physical activity can often increase academic performance and brain function. That’s why it might help you to walk around the office or do some other type of physical activity when you can’t remember something, or you need to work out a solution to a problem.
Remember that regardless of whether you’re using a standard office chair or a Swiss ball, sitting all day can have a negative impact on your health. Lastly, it is important to note that you should frequently change positions — stretch, stand up, and walk around throughout your workday — to help mitigate any possible health problems caused by sitting down all day.