On The Ball

Trading an office chair for an exercise ball.

By Rebecca Kirkman - February 2015

The Benefits of an Exercise Ball

Trading an office chair for an exercise ball.

By Rebecca Kirkman - February 2015

-Getty Images

When Andrea Martin became pregnant with her son in 2012, the chair at her then-desk job made her back ache.

"I had heard of other pregnant women switching to an exercise ball, so I gave it a try," says Martin. "Not only did it help keep me comfortable, it was fun to sit on."

Once banished to the gym, exercise balls are popping up in place of chairs in cubicles, with the promise of a more engaged core.

"Sitting at a desk affects the neck, upper back, and shoulders," says Dr. Ray Moore of Physical Therapy First in Roland Park.

Over the course of a workday, it's natural to fall into a "slump" posture, with a rounded back and protracted shoulders. That's where, according to some experts, the ball comes in.

"It really allows you to choose the position your spine is in while you're at your desk," says physical therapist Lizzie Cavanaugh Bellinger of Spine and Sports Rehabilitation Center in Timonium. "Most office chairs choose your spine position for you by supporting you into a very specific posture."

Although it may not be practical for an entire eight-hour workday due to muscle fatigue, it can be beneficial in shorter periods, says Bellinger.

While the ball and standard chair come out neck-and-neck in clinical studies, users like Martin swear they can feel the difference. "I wouldn't go back to a traditional desk chair," she says. "I credit the ball with helping me get my core back in shape after having my son."

You May Also Like

Health & Wellness

Art of Balance Wellness Revolutionizes Baltimore’s Spa Scene

The new Art of Balance Wellness Spa brings holistic wellness services to Federal Hill.

The Chatter

Hogan Lifts Stay-at-Home Order, Reopens Businesses

Modeling shows COVID-19 fatalities in Maryland could approach 4,000 people.

Health & Wellness

All in a Day With Ellen Frost

We follow a day in the life of the Local Color Flowers owner.

Food & Drink

Immune Boost

Plantbar owner Daniela Troia shares tips to kick your immunity into high gear.

-Getty Images

Doctor Finder

Connect With Us

Most Read

Boxer Yahu Blackwell Is An All-Everything Businessman: The 33-year-old Baltimore native is the owner of the new Rita’s Italian Ice in Hampden.

Bottoms Up Bagels Rolls Into Harwood: Owners debut their new “BUB Hub” at 28th and Greenmount.

The Womanist Reader Creates an Online Library of Black Literature: A Baltimore writer curates an evolving list of women writers for her women followers.

How These Surprise Quarantine ‘Flower Bombs’ Are Helping Families in Need: The paper-plate flowers have become a massive fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House.

Five Things to Know About Democratic Mayoral Nominee Brandon Scott: The 36-year-old City Council President rallies past Sheila Dixon to win Democratic mayoral primary.