Are you Having a Ball at Work? We are!

Did you know that in the 1960’s nearly half of all jobs required some physical activity? Today it’s less than 20%! While sitting your calorie burn slows to 1 calorie per minute. Americans burn 140 fewer calories a day than they did 50 years ago. This adds up to 51,100 calories for an average weight gain of 14.6 pounds per year. Plus, people with sedentary jobs are twice as likely to get heart disease than people with active jobs. Yowza!

If you’re working the 9 – 5 routine, you probably spend most of the time sitting in front of a computer. Long periods of sitting decreases blood flow to the core muscles that hold you upright. Without good blood flow, your muscles get tired and you are more likely to slouch or sit with poor posture. This poor posture further decreases blood flow, increasing the strain on your back. So, the longer you sit, the worse the problem!

What’s the answer? Stand, stretch and move around. Getting off that chair is the best thing you can do. Since you can’t be moving around all day, why not try sitting on an exercise ball for part of your day! An exercise ball in place of your office chair is a great way to burn some calories, strengthen your core muscles and improve your posture. Plus it’s fun to bounce on.

Benefits of sitting on an exercise ball:

  • Burns 4.1 times more calories than sitting in an office chair, which equates to losing more than 2 pounds of fat per year
  • Strengthens core and leg muscles
  • Proper spine alignment –when you do it right
  • Improves balance
  • You can bounce to music or while waiting for the computer to load

How you can have a ball at work:

  1. Size it up. Be sure to 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.
  2. Assume the position. 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 sitting 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.
  3. Watch your time. Start with 15 minutes on the ball. Gradually build endurance to reduce the risk of developing lower-back fatigue or muscular strain. Reduce your time if you are unable to maintain form. Don’t get rid of your office chair. Prevent fatigue by switching between a chair and the ball. Doctors recommend limiting your time on the ball to 30-minute intervals.
  4. Be cautious. 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.
  5. 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.

C’mon, it’s fun! Who doesn’t like the idea of bouncing around on an exercise ball for part of the day? Exercise balls are an exciting alternative to chairs, and may just give that spark of fun to your day! How many of you sit on an exercise ball at work? We’d love to hear your opinions on this fun alternative to a chair!