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Ergonomic Office Chairs vs. Yoga Ball: Which One is Better for Individuals With a Desk Job?

26 January 2024

The field of ergonomics is ever-evolving. Over the years, ergonomic office chairs emerged as an ultimate sitting solution for individuals with desk jobs offering health benefits and much more. However, as technology improves, you can now find alternatives to ergonomic office chairs that may outweigh the benefits of using an ergonomic office chair.

One of the latest additions to alternatives to an ergonomic office chair that is gaining popularity among individuals with a desk job is a yoga ball. An increasing number of employees with desk jobs are now replacing their ergonomic office chairs with a yoga ball which leaves many of you wondering whether a yoga ball makes a great alternative to ergonomic office chairs for individuals with a desk job.

And that's precisely what we discuss in this post. In what follows, we share an insight into how the two sitting alternatives work along with sharing the pros and cons of each. If you are an individual with a desk job, towards the end of this post, you will be able to decide whether an ergonomic office chair or a yoga ball makes the right choice for you.

How It Works?: Ergonomic Office Chair vs. Yoga Ball

If you have been using an ergonomic office chair at your workplace by now, you would know that an ergonomic office chair works by supporting the natural curvature of the "S." It is designed such that all parts of your spine (Including your neck, mid-back and lower back) and your arms get optimal support.

On the other hand, a yoga ball comes without back support. However, it activates all your postural muscles (including the muscles of your abdomen, pelvis, and back). Over time, as the activity of the muscles continues, it contributes to muscle strengthening, leading to a pain-free back.

With an understanding of how an ergonomic office chair and a yoga ball work, it's time to delve into the pros and cons of each sitting solution so you can decide on which one is best for you.

What are the Benefits of a Yoga Ball?

While sitting on a backless yoga ball may seem counter-intuitive, it brings several benefits that you should know about. Some of the benefits of sitting on a yoga ball at your workplace include the following.

Burn Extra Calories

By sitting on a yoga ball, you are constantly focusing on maintaining stability; in doing so, your core muscles are constantly engaged. As a result, when you have to maintain a stable posture on the ball, your body tends to work more, which contributes to burning extra calories.

However, to get this advantage, you need to ensure that you are sitting appropriately on the yoga ball. To sit correctly, you need to ensure that your knees are hip-width apart and both your feet are firmly placed on the ground. Moreover, all ensure that your shoulders are rolled back, and you maintain a straight spinal position.

Aids in Relieving Backache

While sitting on a yoga ball will not miraculously alleviate backache, but it can aid in relieving the condition because it keeps all your core muscles engaged, which strengthens your core and a stronger core is a pre-requisite for a healthier spine.

Moreover, a yoga ball also contributes to reducing backache because it urges you to stretch your body frequently. The more you stretch your muscles, the healthier your spine will be.

Allows You to Breathe Better

When you are sitting upright on a yoga ball improves your overall lung capacity and lung function. However, to get this benefit of a yoga ball, you need to ensure that you are sitting on the ball properly.

Why Shouldn't You Sit on a Yoga Ball?

While there are several reasons to sit on a yoga ball, some studies have found a weak connection between using a yoga ball in the workplace and the suggested benefits. In fact, some research indicates that using a yoga ball may put you at risk of a potential injury.

Some of the reasons why you shouldn’t use a yoga ball include the following.

Insignificant Calorie Burn

There may be an increased muscle activity when you sit on a yoga ball; however, the energy expenditure isn't enough to generate a larger calorie burn. Though your body will burn more calories, there will be an insignificant impact on your body weight.

Increased Risk of Pain

Sitting on a yoga ball for prolonged periods can lead to backache. If you already have a spinal condition, sitting in this position for a long time can aggravate your pain and discomfort.

Greater Risk of Injury

Since a yoga ball isn't stable, there is always a risk of injury as people using it may lose their balance and fall off it.

If you experience pain when using a yoga ball as a sitting solution, It's best to discuss your condition with your healthcare provider before you continue using a yoga ball.

What are the Benefits of an Ergonomic Office Chair?

The ergonomic office chair is the other sitting alternative under consideration in this post. Here's an insight into the benefits that an ergonomic office chair provides.

Enhanced Adjustability

Adjustability is the most desirable benefit of using an ergonomic office chair. When you invest in one, it provides you the flexibility to adjust the height and depth of the chair. Moreover, you can also adjust the position of the armrest, back, and headrest for customized support.

Numerous Health Benefits

As mentioned earlier, ergonomic office chairs are designed to support your back. And when your spine gets the support it needs, you can look forward to a pain-free life.

Moreover, ergonomic office chairs allow you to keep all your joints in a neutral position, protecting you against joint pain. Furthermore, the adjustability feature provides for proper positioning of your arms which takes off pressure from your neck and shoulders.

Apart from the benefits to your lumbar spine, ergonomic office chairs are designed to relax your body and allow optimal blood circulation while you are at work.

Improved Productivity

When you feel better, it always reflects in the quality and quantity of work you produce. Since ergonomic office chairs are designed to reduce stress on the body, you can look forward to improved productivity at your workplace.

Increased Mobility

Since ergonomic office chairs feature high-quality swivel options, you can enjoy greater mobility with these chairs while you are at work. Many ergonomic office chairs, such as Essential Office Chair (C3) by FlexiSpot, feature top-quality wheels of ergonomic office chairs, enabling you to move around freely and get most of your work done while sitting on the chair.

Cost-Effective Sitting Solution in the Long Run

Ergonomic office chairs may seem like a costly investment initially; however, over the years, ergonomic office chairs have been relatively cost-effective. While they continue to serve for years, these high-quality chairs help organizations save missed work days and manage employee healthcare costs, making it a viable solution in the long run.

Why Shouldn't You Consider an Alternative to Ergonomic Office Chair?

Like everything else, ergonomic office chairs possess a few undesirable features that you should know to make the right choice for yourself.

Higher Initial Investment

Investing in an ergonomic office chair can cost you a lot more than a yoga ball. The average starting price of an ergonomic office chair is $100; however, if you are looking for reliable features, you can expect to pay a lot more.

Require Maintenance

Since ergonomic office chairs make durable office equipment, you will need to invest in regular maintenance of the chair so it can serve you for years.

More Prone to Laziness

While it shouldn't be the case but many users of ergonomic office chairs complain that chairs make them lazy. Since these chairs allow you to maintain a comfortable position, many users may experience the urge to sleep or be lazy,

Ergonomic Office Chairs vs. Yoga Balls: Which One Makes a Better Choice?

If you decide whether to go for an ergonomic office chair or a yoga ball, the overall consensus is that a well-designed ergonomic chair makes a great choice. Ergonomic office chairs support your body by featuring adjustability features that a yoga ball cannot match.

However, with that said, no matter whether you choose an ergonomic office chair or a yoga ball, prolonged periods of sitting can lead to poor posture. Hence, it is best to continue to take short breaks every 30 minutes and stretch when possible, regardless of where you choose to sit. Moreover, don't forget to pay attention to your posture to enjoy better spinal health.