There has been a lot of talk about sitting on an exercise ball while you work lately, which is a good idea, like most things when done in moderation. There are a number of benefits to using the exercise ball at your desk, but there is also a downside to the ball. First, research has shown that sitting on the ball for more than three hours requires you to over tighten muscles and possibly fatigue these muscles leading to the potential for back injuries. Second, the risk management guru in you office might not approve of your new seating. There have been cases of people falling off the ball causing a number of different injuries. Here is a great article about sitting on the ball at Ergoweb.
The bottom line is that sitting is bad for the back and sitting with bad posture is even worse for the back. You might be surprised to know that that there is more force on the low back discs when seating than with standing. When we stand the muscles is our legs absorb some of the weight of our upper body. When we sit, all of our weight is absorbed by our backs. For more information about back pain, check out our Back Pain Page and our Spinal Decompression Page.
There is hope, which will allow you to improve the strength of your abs and low back without the risk and inconvenience of having an exercise ball in the office and it has a fun name, “the disco sit.” This little disc allows you the benefits of the exercise with the safety and storage issues. Whenever you’ve had enough of the disco sit you can slide it under your desk and sit like the rest of the civilized world.
There are a number of exercises that you can do on the disco sit that you can not perform on the exercise ball while seated. It is my opinion that the disco sit is a much better companion for the cubicle than the exercise ball, but exercise ball beats the disco sit in the gym. If you would like a copy of the exercises you can do on the Disco Sit, sent me an email from our Contact Page.
Here is a link to a website that sells the Disco Sit Fitter First. There is a video describing how to use the disc just below the item. I recommend the 16″ disc, which we sell at Compass for $25.