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I've been looking into an exercise ball more seriously as a chair alternative. I've heard the benefits which include core strengthening and encouraging you to sit up straight. Are there any drawbacks? Or adjustments that you need to make in order to make it a viable chair replacement?

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If you try an exercise ball, be sure to get the right size, which is probably bigger than you think. I tried it, and could not get the ball I have inflated enough to get me up to where my monitor is. –  Dennis S. Jul 22 '13 at 13:21
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8 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

From a little personal experience I can tell, that ball size may be a problem.

My height is 195 cm and I'm using a 75 cm ball. When fully inflated, it is too high - I have to bend down to the keyboard of my notebook. When less inflated, it becomes too large horizontally when I sit down, so that I can't bend my knees enough.

As a result my posture is not very good when sitting on the ball and working on my notebook.

I've tried a 65-cm ball, but it is too small. I think the solution can be making your keyboard/screen stand highter somehow, but not tried this yet.

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Thanks. I can imagine that deflating the ball might get in the way of your legs. –  imagineerThis Jul 23 '13 at 19:18
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The only drawback is that when you start using it you won't be able to sit for as long as you want. As your core strengthens, though, the amount of time that you can sit on it will increase.

On the other hand our bodies weren't designed for sitting eight or ten hours straight. I consider this apparent drawback a blessing in disguise because it will force you to take regular breaks.

I use an exercise ball at home and I know people at work who use them.

If you're interested in sitting you may find this TED Talk enjoyable [6min]:

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Exercise ball is a good thing to try if you experience back problems. I know several health professionals who recommend it and I'm not aware of any downsides.

Make sure you select a ball with appropriate size -- check the weight specification. And pump it up to its full size.

You can use the ball for doing exercises while working, which will benefit your back. One good exercise is to raise one foot 10 seconds while balancing on the ball.

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Exercise ball as a chair is good idea, but if you tend to be sitting for longer hours, exercise ball is not that good. Since you can/will be able to sit on it for only a small amount of time(lets say 1 or two hours), and then you have to switch back to chair. It may be a good idea to consider chair which can move 360" to give your body more natural movement.

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It isn't comfortable like a 'real' chair.

Well done if you can sit on it for 30 minutes continuously.

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It is very true. Exercise ball sometimes can be interesting, but when it is used for a long time itseems like it's not that beneficial as we think. It can make sense only for short term workouts.

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I was searching for a very long time to find a doctor that is specialiced on back back problems.

He explained to me that you should alternate 'moving chairs' with 'regular chairs'.

The exercise ball would be a 'moving chair' where you muscles (back and stomage muscles) are trained. And with a 'regular chair' your muscles are lees needed.

The trick is to alternate both.

To his explaination a exercise ball should be used say 50% or 70% of the time but not 100% of the time.

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From my own experience, the biggest problem is when it punctures and explodes. I cannot tell you how big of a shock I got at 3am when my exercise ball chair suddenly exploded and I abruptly landed on the floor.

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