Being on the Ball

This entry was posted on Feb 26, 2013 by Lynae.
Sitting on the Exercise Ball

The creeping muscle and balance loss that can accumulate over the years from a sedentary, full-time job scares me. The body boredom I was experiencing with mine was making me anxious. I decided to incorporate an exercise ball into my desk furniture to add versatility to my day and rid myself of the slouchy, stagnant feeling I can get sitting at my desk. I have noticed a definite difference in my mood and energy levels. Though I prefer the ball over my chair, I still keep a chair around to mix it up.

The changes I’ve noticed:

  • Physical alleviation: 
I can easily move around into stretches to relieve discomfort and do small exercises intermittently. My favorite stretches are holding my (sturdy) desk and letting my hips roll back with the ball, giving a stretch to my low back. When there aren’t too many people around, I like to do supported backbend to open my heart and get prana flowing. Gentle bounces bring relief, too.
  • Increased energy:
 Apart from the fitness perks, I love being on the ball because of the happiness factor. Since I have been using the ball at work, I have noticed a change in my energy levels. The added animation it adds brings a playful bounce to my day.
Simple Exercises
Balancing knee lifts:
  1. Active sitting position: Roll the shoulders back and down, engage the core, balance, and breathe.
  2. Bring your feet closer together.
  3. Hold your arms out for balance and then lift one foot off the ground. Press the grounded foot into the floor. Modification: Place your hands on the desk for assistance.
  4. Balance like this for as long as you can while maintaining active sitting position.
  5. Switch legs.
  6. Do this 5 times on each leg.
Back and forth, side to side, and around each way:
  1. Active sitting position: Roll the shoulders back and down, engage the core, balance, and breathe.
  2. Press the feet firmly into the ground.
  3. Move front to back.
  4. Move side to side.
  5. Move in circles, switching between directions evenly.

Keep in mind that regardless of what we are sitting on, we should be mindful of our posture and alignment. The exercise ball is not the magic ball that will give you automatic good posture and a six-pack. In fact, slouching on the ball can be worse for you than slouching in a chair. To get results, we must consciously utilize the ball by rolling the shoulders back and down, drawing in the core, and balancing—active sitting position. Posture is the key.

Editor’s Note: Hugger Mugger’s customer service staff enjoys sitting on fitness balls at their desks, and they all love it! My doctor is a huge advocate for sitting on a ball, and several of my Yoga students have adopted ball-sitting as a way to keep their backs healthy.

Because of all the great feedback I’ve heard about it, I decided to try it. But alas, the ball is not for everyone. I got motion sick sitting on it! I have always been more susceptible to motion sickness than most people, so it’s likely that others will not have this experience. However, be aware that if you are prone to motion sickness you might try sitting on the ball only for short periods, alternating with your chair. Avoid sitting on your ball for at least an hour after eating.


About Lynae
Lynae received her 200-hour yoga certification from Salt Lake Community College and a Personal Training certification from National Academy of Sports Medicine in December 2009. She and her twin participated in the SLCC Dance Company on scholarship for two years as a dancer and choreographer.