- 6 December 2013
Or Fit ball, Stability ball, Physio ball…
Claimed advantages of sitting on a Swiss ball
Sitting on a Swiss ball forces you in correct spinal alignment. No it doesn’t! You can slouch on a swiss ball as easily as on a chair.
Improve ‘core’ strength. Only if you sit correctly.
Improve balance. The trunk balance is improved only if you sit correctly.
Will get you a 6-pack. No it won’t. Unless you are using your ball to do curl-ups and crunchies.
Improve circulation. If you want to improve your circulation, you are better off walking.
Make you change position often. As much as any good chair.
The main issue with sitting on the Swiss ball is actually the same as what makes it attractive: instability. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing!
Swiss balls are very unstable so muscles are constantly working, eventually leading to fatigue or tightness. Neither of which are beneficial in the long term. When muscles fatigue, the body is no longer supported and the joints suffer. When muscles get tight, they compress the joints or get into spasms. So sitting on a Swiss ball for long periods might harm your body. It depends on how much body awareness and strength you have.
Swiss balls are very unstable so your feet provide the stable base you need. Your legs and hips get tight trying to keep the ball in place. The hip flexors (front of the hips muscles) and hamstrings (back of the thigh muscles) are overactive and get shortened, which can lead to lower back, knee or hip tension and eventually pain. The Quadratus Lumborum (muscles in the sides of your body) are also very active, compressing the Sacro-illiac joints and lower back.
When the Swiss ball is fully blown, it rolls even more so is even more unstable. When it is too soft, the body sinks into it, compressing the lower back and hips. It is easier also to slouch. If the ball is too low, the hips get tighter.
So if you really like sitting on your Swiss ball, follow this advice.
Buy the bigger size 75cm. Blow the ball so it is firm. Place a Stability ball stacker ring to make it more stable. www.physicalcompany.co.uk
Learn how to sit correctly. It is not as easy as you think. My Posture4u workshop will teach you how.
Adjust your workstation accordingly.
Take breaks every 20 minutes.
Personally I prefer sitting on my Backapp stool! www.backapp.eu
Or you could consider sitting on a Activa air disc or Sit fit. www.physicalcompany.co.uk