I’ve worked at home for the last 5-1/2 years and while it definitely has its perks, I find that one of the biggest downers about it is that I seldom walk away from my desk. Let’s face it, it’s not like I have a whole lot of options to go somewhere else. There is no “other department” to walk into, no water cooler in which to share juicy gossip, no long list of co-workers to go to lunch with. It’s just me, my PC and my ergonomically-friendly, yet strangely uncomfortable swivel chair.
So a few weeks ago I was expressing my frustration to my trainer and he suggested that I try sitting on a stability ball (aka swiss ball, yoga ball, exercise ball), instead of my chair, so that I can do something good for myself while I’m just sitting around all day.He explained that stability ball works your body, even when you’re not working out. Because the ball itself is not steady, your body needs to make adjustments using its muscles, in order to obtain stabilization and prevent you from falling over. The muscles used during these adjustments known as the “core muscle group” (abdomen and back) need to constantly work and as a by-product get stronger.
He further explained that while I was not likely get that great 6-pack that I’ve been looking for just by sitting on the stability ball for a solid 8 hours a day, strengthening my core will help support my back and stop me from further destroying what’s left of my good posture and possibly alleviate my backaches.
I have to admit, I thought the idea was silly and also dangerous, especially for me given the fact that I’m such a klutz (see post from yesterday). How on earth was I going to sit on this ball and try to type and speak on the phone at the same time? I don’t know about you, but I’m still trying to master the “texting while walking” scenario. But, I figured that a $20.00 investment would at least provide entertainment to my husband who sits in his office 300 yards away, a couple of days per week.
So I gave it a shot and hopped on about 3 weeks ago. Day one was not easy. Not only did I roll off the ball several times, but at the end of the day, my abs hurt. So did my quads and my hamstrings. Day two: I only fell twice, yet those same body parts were sore plus now, my gluts and calves were tender. During the rest of the week, I remained ON the stability ball all day and started feeling good about the minor aching that I had in my lower body. The pain meant it was working.
I debriefed my trainer on Monday on how it was going and he let me in on one additional perk about sitting on the stability ball. Apparently people that sit on a stability ball vs. an office chair burn 8 more calories per hour on average. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, over the course of the week, it adds up to the calories needed to metabolize one cup of Starbucks Mud Pie ice cream.
Extra calorie burn and tighter abs, legs and butt by just sitting at my desk? Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.
Give it a shot and let me know how it works for you.PS – I typed this entire blog post while sitting on my stability ball.
If I've inspired you to give the stability ball a whirl, send me your picture. I'd love to post it here.
Todd Crawford's ball on the way to his office
Todd Crawford on his stability ball