Want to get fit while you sit? Sounded like a good idea to me, so recently I retired my hi-tech Aeron desk chair and instead perched myself on a giant exercise ball at my desk.
A friend's personal trainer, Debbie Hollis, introduced me to the concept. People are afraid they'll be laughed at if they sit on an exercise ball, notes Hollis, but the truth is that they'll get the last laugh. She says that sitting on an exercise ball or inflatable balance cushion strengthens stomach muscles, improves posture and balance, imparts energy and makes people feel better overall.
While conventional desk chairs discourage movement, balance cushions and exercise balls encourage "active sitting." According to Hollis, this means that you unconsciously adjust your position as you sit, and these movements strengthen and tone your center -- your abdominals and lower back.
Sitting on an inflatable balance cushion encourages good posture and balance. In contrast, people tend to slump and slouch when seated at conventional desk chairs, causing the spine to remain in poor alignment for extended periods and placing pressure on the discs, muscles and ligaments that support it. Over time, this can lead to back damage and pain.
Sitting on a balance cushion or inflatable ball is more fun than sitting on a conventional chair! It encourages slight bouncing movements that not only keep your muscles moving, but also keep you feeling more energetic and help keep stress at bay. In contrast, slouching at a regular desk chair compresses the diaphragm, leading to shallow breathing, a slower metabolism and greater fatigue.
Some people find slightly underinflated balls more comfortable for sitting, but Hollis prefers fully inflated balls. You get a better workout that way, she says. For most people, the 55 cm or 65 cm balls are best, but it does depend on a person's weight and height.
The best way to sit? According to Hollis, make sure that your feet are flat on the floor... your knees are level or slightly lower than your pelvis, creating a 90° or larger angle... and your pelvis, shoulders and ears are in a vertical line.
Now go ahead and sit your way to fitness!
ActiveForever has the perfect solution for active sitting. Our Disc O' Sit Balance Cushion enables active sitting while using your existing office chair. It versatile use is good for sit-ups, push-ups and other exercises. In addition, our selection of Exercise Balls provides an excellent tool for active sitting and builds lower back an abdominal strength in a variety of sizes and colors.
This article was provided by Bottom Line's Daily Health News. Bottom Line's vast network of leading mainstream, alternative, and complementary practitioners brings you the information you need to make informed decisions about your health. Sign up now for their FREE electronic newsletter.
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