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

How to Approach Your Healthy Eating Goals

Health coach Lauren Shafer of Live Full shares her tips.

Charmed Life

Tips for Starting a Meditation Routine

Anjali Sunita of Baltimore Yoga Village shares her relaxation techniques.

Health & Wellness

Making Strides

Accomplish your New Year's fitness resolutions with these eco-friendly products.

Health & Wellness

Six Tips for Beating the “Winter Blues”

Annick Barker of Metta Integrative Wellness Center offers ways to combat sluggish winter moods.

Health & Wellness

Ma’am Overboard

Age is just a number—until you look in the mirror.

Charmed Life

How to Set Realistic New Year's Resolutions

Local life coaches explain how to set goals that you'll actually stick to in 2020.

-Getty Images

Doctor Finder

Connect With Us

Most Read

What to Know About the Maryland Cycling Classic Coming September 2020: For starters, Baltimore's pro cycling event will be more than 100 miles long.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Declares For Late Husband’s Seat: We break down the familiar faces in upcoming special Democratic primary.

Will Judge Make an Example Out of Catherine Pugh?: With the former mayor’s sentencing scheduled for February, both sides get to work on their case.

Gervonta Davis Wins Another World Title Belt, Eyes ‘Big Year’ Ahead: West Baltimore’s own was bruised, but not beaten in longest fight of his pro career.

Four Key Updates on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Here’s what the BSO has been up to since performances resumed in September.