Health Shorts: Balance balls as office chairs?

Large, inflatable balance balls have become popular tools in health clubs for developing balance. Because even sitting on these balls can help strengthen and tone core body muscles, some have recommended daily use in the office as a measure to head off back pain.

While admitting the need for sedentary workers to activate their trunk muscles, many ergonomics experts question the wisdom of sitting on a balance ball all day. As they point out, it’s as easy to slump on a ball as in a chair, and the balls are not height adjustable as a chair would be. Positions that would allow sitting on the ball all day could put prolonged compression on discs in the spine. There is also a safety hazard should the ball roll out from under the person.

[SOURCE: Peter Budnick, “Opinion: balls as office chairs a bad idea,” Ergonomics Today, April 11, 2005]

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Last Updated April 02, 2009