Is it good idea to replace conventional office chairs with Ball

The inability of conventional
office chairs in reducing back pain during long working hours has made many
people seek some alternative office chairs that will solve this problem. One of
the alternative office chairs that recently increase in popularity is ball
chairs, also known as Fit Balls or Exercise Balls. Ball chairs which are
normally found in the gym or fitness or therapy centre but they have become
everyone’s new favorite office furniture.

Many people view ball chairs as a
solution to combat back pain during long hours sitting because they think ball
chairs can keep the user to sit upright all the time. They think by using ball
chairs they will not end up slumping or making any other incorrect postures
since ball chairs promote stability. Moreover, the use of ball chairs also can
give impression that the user is working while exercising since sitting on ball
chairs can strengthen the abdominal and lower back muscles in attempt to
maintain the perfect sitting posture.

However, with all the
“advantages” the ball chairs seems to offer, are they really helpful in
reducing back pain during long hours sitting?

The answer is no.

According to Dr. Callaghan, the researcher
from University of Waterloo in Canada, using an exercise ball as an office
chair gives no any benefit at all.

“To be quite frank, I cannot see
any advantage or reason for a person to be using an exercise ball as an office
chair,” says he as cited in The New York Times.

 Ball chairs cannot reduce back pain
at all


Dr . Callaghan also adds that
research conducted by him and others have shown that sitting on a ball chair
can’t keep people to sit upright all the time, they tend to generally slump as
much as when they sit in conventional chairs. If any kind of chairs fail to
maintain the correct sitting posture of the user then the back pain will never
ever be reduced or improved.

Ball chairs are not recommended for prolonged office sitting


Shona Anderson, Canadian
Certified Professional Ergonomist admits that ball chairs are very good at
maintaining a good posture and strengthen the muscles. However, that only works
for short period of time. Sitting for too long on backless chair such as a ball
will make the muscles fatigue quickly and as a result the user will end up
slumping or making incorrect sitting posture that harm their back condition.

By looking at her explanation, it
is safe to say that using ball chairs or exercise balls as an office chair is a
bad idea since normal office hours takes 8-9 hours a day.

Ball chairs in the office are not recommend for safety reasons


Andrew L. Concors, a certified
industrial ergonomist says that using an exercise ball as an office chair is
dangerous. There are two primarily reasons why he says so. Firstly, the fitball
or exercise ball is not specifically design to be a sitting surface like the
chairs. He told that he ever found his patient’s ball burst on her while she’s
doing exercises at her home. Secondly, he said as cited in Ergoweb  that “the balls have a tendency to roll even
when placed in a ring, causing a potential for the employee or
co-workers to trip and fall”.  

 Imagine if you hold a cup of hot coffee on
your hand as you trip and fall off the ball. That will be a massive disastrous.

Ball chairs are bad to use in the morning


Jeff Pajot, professional
ergonomist from Canada explains that in the morning and the intervertebral disc space is larger while the spine is elongated as a result of eight hours
lying down, sleeping. This very unstable condition of spine is not for using
ball chairs which is required excessive spinal movement and lifting. That’s why
is not very recommended to use ball chairs in the first couple hours in the

Clearly, the ball chairs are not
supposed to be in the office where the employee normally starts working at
eight or nine in the morning.

Ball chairs are not height adjustable


Like any other conventional
chair, the ball chairs are not height adjustable and this condition  will potentially lead to any incorrect
sitting posture which can result in back pain.

 Final thoughts


Replacing conventional office
chairs with the ball chairs in order to improve back pain is useless and
worthless thing to do, so don’t do it. If you seriously care about your health
and safety during prolong sitting, it’s better to replace your conventional
office chair with an ergonomic office chairs which are specifically designed
for you.



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