The Swiss Ball will save us!

Posted on May 16th, by Matt Gereghty in Desk Chair, Ergonomics, Exercise, Exercise Ball, Sitting, Slouching, Swiss Ball. 8 comments

Ergonomics - Swiss Ball

There is a myth circulating around water-coolers everywhere that replacing your desk chair with a Swiss ball will make everything great. Submitted for the approval of the midnight society, I’d like to quash this myth before anyone else wastes another precious minute of their time.

As the story goes, sitting on a ball creates instability. This instability forces the body to keep itself balanced and upright, engaging the core, and helping the sitter get super fit with ice-cube-tray abs. On paper, it makes perfect sense. If you can sit on something that helps you get the fitness and posture of a Navy Seal, then sign me up. To be honest, I’d even take Seal’s (the musician) posture.

Unfortunately, anyone who has actually sat on a Swiss Ball for an extended period of time knows that it’s an absolute grind. The first few minutes might make you a believer, “Oh my god Janice, it’s working already!” You’ll probably sit up straight and proud for a little while. Then your muscles will start to fatigue. At that point, your great posture will start to decay like the quality of Nelly Furtado’s music. Your upper body will begin to creep forward. The neck you once held up so proudly will bend forward like a wilting flower and the shoulders you held straight will spill fourth like the Johnstown Dam collapse of 1889.

I definitely see the attraction to the Swiss Ball solution. It’s comforting to think that a quick switcheroo can “cure” your terrible posture, back pain, obesity, or whatever else ails you. It brings to mind one of my favourite quotes from 8-time Mr. Olympia (bodybuilder) Ronnie Coleman. He said:

“Everyone wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights.”

Powerful stuff. Ronnie’s suggestion that everyone wants to be a bodybuilder may be a stretch, but I think his point about human nature is right on. We want to get results with no work. My problem isn’t with the Swiss Ball itself, but with the idea that it’s a quick-fix to all of your problems. Overall, you should aim to spend your day alternating between standing, walking and some sitting. If you’re married to the idea of using a Swiss Ball, you should gradually sprinkle it into your routine. Ball or no ball, if you want to build a healthy working lifestyle, you’re going to have to pack a lunch and put in some effort. I’m still convinced that if humans were meant to sit on a giant ball, our asses would be a completely different shape. Maybe concave.

Let’s cut the crap here, this video is the real reason I wanted to write a blog about Swiss Balls. Enjoy.

Take a brief walk, then come back and read another gem:

Make Your Own Standing Desk!

What Rafael Nadal’s big nasty can teach you about ergonomics.

Do I sit too much?

Ergonomics Fail: A real pain in the coccyx.

The Swiss Ball will save us!

Your wrists are like baby squirrels.

photo credit: wiggoaugogo via photopin cc

8 thoughts on “The Swiss Ball will save us!

  1. The timing of your post is pretty bang on, Matt. I was just offered a swiss ball at work today and I was quick to say “No thanks!”.

  2. Pingback: Exercises (in futility) that you can do at your desk. | Are You Ergo? – Ergonomics for the modern slouch potato.

  3. Pingback: Do I sit too much? | Are You Ergo? – Ergonomics for the modern slouch potato.

  4. Pingback: Ergonomic Decision Tree | Are You Ergo? – Ergonomics for the modern slouch potato.

  5. Pingback: The 5 Worst Ergonomic CREEPS! | Ergonomics – Are You Ergo?

  6. Pingback: How to ask your boss for a standing desk. | Ergonomics – Are You Ergo?

  7. Pingback: Ergonomic Fail: A real pain in the coccyx. | Ergonomics – Are You Ergo?

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