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A New Way of “Active” Sitting With The Gaiam Balance Ball Chair

gaiam-balance-ball-chair***Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. If you suffer from neck and back pain, or other chronic injuries  please consult your doctor before investing in a yoga ball chair which I will be reviewing in this article***

Sitting in front of computers  in our office chairs for hours on end at a desk job is a reality that’s not going away anytime soon. And it brings about some health concerns like tensions and pains  on the spine and back muscles, improper posture, and the feeling of being sore all over by the end of the workday.

Because of these growing concerns, a lot of workplaces (and schools too!) are changing and they’re replacing traditional chairs with standing desks, ergonomic chairs or yoga ball chairs.

As important as it is to avoid sitting for long periods of time, standing on your feet all day isn’t great for your efficiency and productivity when both your feet and your back hurt. And standing all day also comes with it’s own set of other health problems.

While ergonomic chairs are a good option, they come with a high price tag. And who wants to spend a fortune on a chair for a desk job? I mean, it’s a chair!!!

Here’s where the yoga ball chair, also known as a balance ball chair, comes into the picture.

BEWARE: Why You Should NOT Use A “Regular” Exercise Ball As A Chair

While you can get yourself a standard exercise ball to save yourself some bucks, here are a couple of reasons why you wouldn’t want to to do that:

  • gaiam-balance-ball-chair
    The original Gaiam Balance Ball Chair

    Standard exercise balls are not height adjustable

  • They’re unstable and can cause discomfort on the back
  • They roll away when you’re not seated
  • They don’t have back support
  • They’re a tripping hazard
  • They can leak and burst which can lead to injury

Why Should You Consider Switching to the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair

The Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair, which was developed under the consultation of chiropractor Dr. Randy Weinzoff, is the #1 best- selling ball chair brand chair for many good reasons including:

  • Provides all-day ergonomic support for a stronger healthier back and spinal alignment
  • Relieves neck and back pain
  • Improves your posture and spinal alignment
  • Strengthens your core as you sit
  • Made from a stable, lightweight base (molded PVC)
  • Latex-free unlike other brands
  • Features rolling, lockable caster wheels
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Includes a desktop workout guide (for an effective low-impact workout) and stretching routine
  • Anti-burst (burst resistant)
  • Variety of colors to choose from (no boring blacks and greys please!)

More reasons…

  • 3-in-1 product. While the primary function of this product is that it’s a chair, you can take out the ball to do some yoga or exercises.
  • Cheaper than getting an ergonomic office chair
  • Brand you can trust. Gaiam is around for a while and reputed for making good quality yoga and fitness gear, accessories, and apparel
  • Stress reliever: plenty of happy users report that bouncing on the balance ball chair helps them manage stress
  • As you get used to sitting in proper posture and it improves through time, you will automatically be walking and sitting in good posture all the time

The Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair is for people who are 5’-5’11″ tall and holds up to 300 lbs of body weight. If you don’t meet these requirements, don’t worry you can get the Gaiam Custom Fit chair instead (more on this one at the end of the article).

What Do Studies Say About Making the Switch from Office Chair to a Yoga Ball Chair?

After doing my research, I found studies which claim that traditional exercise balls when used as chairs don’t eliminate the pain and posture of the back and spinal alignment and also that they can further aggravate issues. There are mixed views from the ergonomic community and I think one of the reasons is so that you purchase one of their expensive chairs.

gaiam-custom-fit-balance-ball-chair
The Gaiam Custom Fit Balance Chair

Because the Gaiam Balance Ball has been developed under the supervision of chiropractor Dr. Randy Weinzoff, these concerns have taken been into consideration. However, just to be on the safe side, please consult your doctor if you have occasional or  chronic neck and back pain  before you use this.

When I read reviews and anecdotes on Amazon, the general consensus is that most users of these chairs are thrilled from making the switch from the office chair to a Gaiam Balance Ball Chair. So when people claim that these yoga ball chairs alleviates their pain and improves their posture, then who are you to argue with them? Frankly, I’m not surprised this is Gaiam’s top selling product when I read so many positive experiences.

However, let’s be realistic and take with a grain of salt the extravagant claims of getting a workout and strengthening your core. Don’t expect to get a 6-pack from this product just from sitting! It just ain’t gonna happen. So while this balance ball engages your muscles, it’s a significant low level of muscle activation in the lower back muscles. If you’re interested in weight loss, check out my article How to Lose Weight with Yoga and Practice Yoga Online Anytime, Anywhere for some ideas.  

Tips

  • Once the chair is set up and you inflated the ball to the correct size with the included pump, for the first few days you will need to check and re-inflate the ball so that it stretches to its proper size.
  • Don’t get rid of your regular office chair yet!

A few users people report that at the beginning, you may experience some discomfort but it’s because your body has to work its way to get used to sitting in a balance ball chair. They say that the way to go around it is to take breaks and switch between your office chair and the yoga ball chair. Someone also reported that leaning on the back support for too long may cause a backache.

For most users, I observed that the Gaiam Balance Ball eliminated their back and neck pains for good and that their posture greatly improved over time.

The Gaiam Balance Chair Ball vs. the Gaiam Custom Fit Balance Ball Chair, Which One Should You Get?

While Gaiam claims that the Custom fit chair is the “improved” version of the original, what’s really different is the design of the back support.

As mentioned earlier, the Gaiam Balance Chair Ball is recommended for people whose height is between 5’-5’11″ and have a body weight up to 300 lbs. And if you fit those requirements, you can go with either chair.

Even Custom Fit Balance Ball has the same recommendations, most users who don’t match up to the numbers in height report that the Custom Fit Balance Ball is a good fit for them anyway.

In terms of features between these yoga ball chairs, here are the differences:

gaiam-backless-balance-ball-chair
The Gaiam Backless Balance Ball Chair
  • Gaiam Balance Chair Ball:
    Adjustable back support bar, secure metal ball holder, and 2 lockable easy-glide caster wheels
  • Custom Fit Balance Ball:
    Adjustable legs and cushioned back with a stable, secure metal base and easy-glide, lockable castor wheels

Oh and before I forget, Gaiam also makes a Backless Balance Ball Chair which is the same thing as the Classic  Balance Chair Ball, but without the adjustable back support bar.    

Conclusion

Whether you choose the classic Gaiam Balance Chair Ball, the Custom Fit Balance Ball, or the Backless Balance Ball Chair, a yoga ball chair is a product to consider trying out if you want relief from neck and back pains, improve your posture, strengthen your spine and guard yourself against injuries. It’s also recommended to use this as preventative measure from these health problems too.

Just so you know, Gaiam is holding a 20% off sale on all active sitting products until November 9, 2016 on the Gaiam website. This is a great opportunity to save some money or start your Christmas shopping for a loved one. You can also score a great deal on Amazon.com

Brand: Gaiam
Model: Balance Chair; Custom Fit Balance Chair
Price:  63-80$
Rating: 4.5/5
Best deal to Purchase: Amazon.com or Gaiam (when they have sales)

Would you consider switching to a yoga ball chair? If you already have, can you share your experience?

Leave a comment or question below.

PS: I respond to all comments.

 

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18 Comments

  1. Summerly Summerly

    I like the idea of this balance chair. I have considered getting a ball to sit on, but I thought it would be uncomfortable with no backing, I like how this one comes with a back. I have terrible posture so I could really benefit from something like this. Seems like a good product, thanks for the review.

  2. Emma Emma

    You know, I have just been researching about the best way to work, with or without a chair but did not come across this one! This looks like the answer to my problems! I don’t want to end up being one of those people who end up with stiff, sore backs and necks from sitting at the computer desk all day!

    • Hi Emma. I know. Having sore backs and necks definitely doesn’t make us very productive either. Even if you get a yoga ball chair, it’s still a good idea to get up once in a while and stretch it out.

  3. Brian Brian

    One of the things I really like about this review: I feel like I got enough quality information to make a decision, rather than rush off to Google to find out more. Very nicely organized and thorough.

    • Hey Brian! Thank you for your feedback!

  4. Elizabeth Elizabeth

    I am most definitely going to give this a go – I will go for the classic chair ball because as I am at a desk for many hours I think I would prefer to have the back support. I have used the standard ball but it did tend to make my back sore and, yes, it did keep rolling off when I stood up!
    Thank you for introducing me to these yoga ball chairs – I had not seen them before.

    • You’re welcome Elizabeth. Enjoy and please do follow- up with your experience once you get it. 🙂

  5. Furkan Furkan

    Hi, I have been doing lots of strength training over 2 years and I have sometimes shoulder pain. Do you suggest Gaiam Custom Fit Balance for it?

    • Hey Furkan. Thanks for stopping by. I would first consult with a doctor and get their ok.

  6. Chris Chris

    Wow, this chair looks AMAZING! I am seriously considering one for myself and my wife for Christmas. I hate the standard office desk chair, and have been searching for a replacement for years. I think I may have found it!

    Your article was very informative, and it’s obvious you did your research. Thanks for sharing, I will stay in touch!

    Chris

    • Hey Chris! Thank you for the feedback!

  7. Alham Alham

    Hi there thanks for the information really loved reading your article it was so informative and I will definitely read your other articles.

    • Awesome! I’m glad to hear that Alham. Happy reading 😉

  8. Craig Craig

    Wow! I am so glad I found this article. As I type this I can actually feel pain in my lower back from sitting at my desk all day. Seriously, I’m not joking. I think I just found something for my Christmas list! I checked it out at Amazon but I couldn’t see if there is a guarantee. Can you confirm?

    • Nice to see you again Craig. Amazon has a great exchange and refund policy. Most defective items can be returned within 30 days of receipt of shipment and they do have a guarantee program in case you didn’t receive your order or the product didn’t come as described. Since the ball is anti-burst you shouldn’t worry about the ball falling apart. You can also buy the replacement ball separately (make sure to check the size) if you ever need to but I doubt that you will.

  9. lilywong lilywong

    I have always wanted a ball as a chair but wonder if it is all that practical. And they never seem to look very comfortable! 😛 But my desk chair isn’t serving me that well ergonomically, so I’d probably get a ball chair to try it out. I like that it is lightweight and it is a 3-in-1 product. Thanks for sharing this. I am intrigued now!

    • Vanessa Vanessa

      You’re welcome! Let me know which one you get.

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