Photo by Balaji Dutt
After months of suffering from back and neck problems caused by too much time at my desk, I made a simple, yet radical change: I threw out my desk chair. I replaced it with an exercise ball.
After only one week, my neck and back pain had all but disappeared.
Choosing a Ball
Knowing nothing about exercise balls before I tried this, I didn’t know what to buy. Luckily, I found that all the packages listed the height of person the ball was intended for. I was able to select one that was appropriate.
I also found an exercise ball that had some sort of “sand” in the bottom so it doesn’t roll away easily. This has proved to be essential in a house with a small child.
The third feature that clinched the purchase was the inclusion of a pump for the ball.
How To Set Up an Exercise Ball
Pay very close attention to the instructions included with the ball. You do not want to over-inflate the ball and have it explode. My ball said to inflate to a certain circumference, so I cut a piece of string to the required length, and measured the ball as I filled it.
How To Use An Exercise Ball As A Chair
It takes a little getting used to. You cannot sit on your leg (a bad habit I had gotten into that contributed to my pain), nor cross your legs while sitting on the ball. It is easiest to sit with your feet flat on the ground. You will soon get used to the changed posture from sitting up straight. You might also experience some abdominal soreness as your muscles get used to holding you up.
Since I have started using the ball as a chair, I have had a marked decrease in pain in my shoulders and neck. Additionally, by moving a little on the ball as I work, I get a small workout of the abdominal muscles.