You have all heard of this trend. It’s not new. It’s a question I have had fairly frequently over the last year. Should I sit on a ball at work instead of my chair? Would that help my core?
According to Dr. Henry Goitz, chief of sports medicine at the Medical College of Ohio, recommends 20-30 minutes of sitting on a ball instead of an office chair will certainly improve muscle tone. He cautions against using it all day because of risk of fatigue and injury.
I agree!! Common mistakes people make while using a ball:
- They fail to sit up straight
- Both feet are not firmly planted on the floor with their ankle falling directly below their knee, rather they slouch.
- They sit on it too long (sitting too long in general is a problem for office workers) so their pelvis becomes fatigued as well as surrounding muscle groups.
- They have limited core awareness, so although muscles are being used to stay on the ball upright, they aren’t getting what they could out of it.
- They have a ball that isn’t the right size for their body.
A great alternative, again to be used on a minimal basis (20-30 minutes at a time) is a balance disk. I love these for lifting the pelvis into neutral, extending the hamstrings a little, and bringing core awareness into your day. You can find them on ebay, amazon, and Sports Authority for about $20.00 and they are easier to take with you than the large ball.
In addition to a prop of this nature at work, the most important thing you can do for your hamstrings, and back is to set the alarm on your iphone or computer for 30 minutes. Every time it goes off, stand up and stretch-touch the floor, roll up your vertebrae to a standing position slowly, repeat several times. Stretch your quads and hip flexors, by simply standing on one leg and grabbing your foot and pulling your ankle toward your bum. The problem with jobs that chain us to a desk is our leg muscles shorten and we experience back and leg pain. Try stretching your shoulders and neck as well to relieve that shoulder fatigue. You only need 60-90 seconds to help refresh those muscles and get back to work.
What do you do to alleviate the pain of sitting at a desk all day? Have you tried one of these props? Do tell…….