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Should I use an exercise ball instead of an office chair?

Replacing your boring and normal office chair with a big, round, colorful exercise ball is definitely tempting. Some might even tell you it's more comfortable and better for your health to bounce up and down on an exercise ball. However, what does the scientific evidence say?

Because exercise balls have become popular office alternatives to chairs in the last decade, there has been a good bit of scientific research focused on the idea. The general consensus from experts is to stick to the traditional chair over exercise balls. For example, one study revealed that long periods of sitting on an exercise ball never changed the way a worker sits in terms of healthy posture. Nevertheless, it did appear to increase the worker's discomfort levels.

In a different study, a ball and a stool appeared to have about the same benefits. Muscle activation profiles for 14 different muscles were the same on the ball and the stool. The Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders also offered its take on the topic by saying that using stability balls can increase the risk of low back discomfort while increasing injury risks due to the instability of sitting on a ball.

There are a lot of ways someone can get hurt while using an exercise ball. These ways of getting hurt should not include using an exercise ball instead of an office chair; however, if you did suffer an exercise ball, office-related injury, it's likely that you can still seek workers' compensation benefits to pay for your medical care.

Source: ego-plus.com, "Truth vs. Myth: Is Using an Exercise Ball to Replace Your Office Chair a Good Idea?," Matt Middlesworth, accessed June 02, 2017

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