Why There Are Limits On How Long You Should Use A Stability Ball

Spending your days sitting for endless hours at a time can pose dangers to your health. According to Harvard Health Publishing, sitting down without taking breaks to move your body can cause pain and lead to dire health outcomes like increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Breaking up the day through movement is important, and there are plenty of easy stretches you should do if you sit all day.


As an alternative to the office chair, many workers have taken to bringing stability balls to their desks. A stability ball is an exercise tool that can help people better their balance, grow stronger, and develop better coordination, according to Power Systems. This common piece of exercise equipment might appear to be an easy fix for those who have no choice but to stay at a desk all day. However, you'll find certain risks associated with using a stability ball for too long.

The risks of replacing your desk chair with a stability or exercise ball

If you have researched stability balls for your home or office, you may have wondered about the difference between them and exercise balls. The real difference between exercise balls and stability balls hinges on size. Stability balls are usually larger, but besides that, the two are essentially the same, according to SportsRec. Both exercise balls and stability balls are useful for doing exercises while sitting at your desk. Yet, you shouldn't leave your desk chair in the dust. Using either a stability ball or an exercise ball all day long could leave you feeling worse for wear. 


Samuel Chan, a physical therapist from New York, told LiveStrong that you must keep good posture on a stability ball to have helpful and healthy effects. "While you may be mindful enough to keep your core engaged and sit with proper posture on the ball, most individuals inevitably start to slouch over time," Chan said. Such poor posture can actually result in increased back pain.

How to use a stability ball at your desk

If you want to break up the time you spend sitting in your office chair, using a stability ball mindfully and correctly can help you build core strength and stretch your hip flexors, according to the New York Times. But experts still don't recommend that you swap out your chair for a stability or exercise ball for long periods of time.


To get the benefits of sitting on a stability ball, practice small chunks of engaged sitting at a time. "Start out with shorter intervals than you would expect (something like 5 minutes of sitting to start, with much longer rest periods)," Samuel Chan told LiveStrong. "Then, slowly build yourself up as your endurance improves."

You'll also want to keep tabs on your posture throughout these exercise blocks and when you're sitting in your normal chair. "My favorite cue for posture is a little post-it or sticky note at the corner of your monitor or just out of your view to the side," Chan said. "Every time the note catches your eye, you are reminded to re-adjust your posture." 

And, best of all, take breaks by filling up a water bottle, going to the bathroom, or taking a short lap around the office to add some movement to your work day.