In past decades, many individuals worked jobs that kept them moderately active while at work. Today, however, it is estimated that 80% of Americans work desk jobs. Sitting in a standard desk chair for eight or more hours a day can result in dozens of health problems, including poor posture, lower back pain, weight gain, fatigue, and more.
Are you looking for a simple and affordable way to limit the health problems caused by working a sedentary job? If so, the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair may be the perfect fit for you.
Features and Specifications
The most popular stability ball chair on the market is the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair. This revolutionary ergonomic chair was developed by chiropractic experts to improve individuals’ posture and spinal health.
The yoga ball chair works by applying the same fitness principles used in many exercise programs. Sitting on an exercise ball forces the seated individual to utilize their core and back muscles, improving overall posture through a form of “active sitting.”
The Gaiam Balance Ball Chair comes equipped with a 52 cm exercise ball, an air pump, four easy-glide casters (two locking, two regular), and an adjustable back support for optimal comfort.
The Classic Gaiam Chair is optimal for individuals between 5′ and 5’11” tall and can support weights of up to 300 pounds.
A Gaiam exercise ball chair generally retails for roughly $80. The chair’s black base may be accompanied by an exercise ball in black, green, blue, or purple. Though this is noticeably more expensive than the cost of a standard yoga ball, individuals should note that the Gaiam Chair is far more affordable than other ergonomic desk chair options, which often retail for $150 or more.
If you’re suffering from a sore back, the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair is truly worth its price.
Pros of the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair
There are many reasons individuals should consider the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair. The yoga ball chair model has been proven to have many benefits, including (but not limited to):
- reducing back pain
- reducing shoulder pain
- reducing neck pain
- improving spinal alignment
- engaging and toning core muscles
- engaging back muscles/improving back health
- boosting circulation
- improving balance
- reducing mental and physical fatigue
- …and more!
Opting for a balance ball chair over a simple balance ball is generally a wise option, particularly for those who intend to use the ball as seating in an office environment. An exercise ball without a frame can also work core muscles, but can become difficult to sit on for long periods of time, particularly if individuals are accustomed to traditional desk chair seating. Balance balls without a chair frame are also prone to rolling away from the seating environment, a problem which is easily remedied by the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair’s frame and locking casters.
In the exercise ball vs office chair debate, it is clear that exercise ball chairs are the most beneficial for individuals’ overall health and well-being. Even the best ergonomic desk chairs do not engage back and abdominal muscles as much as a Gaiam Chair does. In many cases, individuals “slump” into their desk chairs, resulting in poor posture, back pain, and bodily fatigue. Though desk chairs may sometimes be ideal for comfort, they are certainly not ideal for individuals’ overall health.
Cons of the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair
In most instances, it is safe to say that the pros of the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair outweigh the cons. That being said, the chair is not optimal for everyone, and individuals should not buy the chair without first informing themselves of its attributes, both positive and negative.
Some of the chair’s drawbacks include:
- an extensive, potentially bothersome assembly process
- a non-adjustable chair height (which may not fit properly at a desk or table)
- not suitable for individuals under 5′ or over 6′ tall
- potentially challenging transition to the balance ball chair from a standard desk chair (resulting in temporarily increased pain)
- ball must be periodically re-inflated for optimal use
- ball may be damaged by sharp objects, very high temperatures, etc.
- chair may not be allowed in some work environments
Though the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair is a great alternative to traditional desk chairs, the chair is certainly not for everyone. If you are looking for a particularly low-maintenence chair, the Gaiam Chair may not be for you. Customers will find that they must occasionally re-inflate the chair’s yoga ball for improved comfort and support. Additionally, users must take care not to damage the exercise ball. Even minor punctures may force buyers to purchase a new ball for their chair frame.
Purchasers should consider whether or not they can handle the physical strain of sitting in a balance ball chair for a full workday. Most experts advise that individuals gradually transition into full balance ball use, beginning by using the chair for only an hour or two per day. In such a way, you can begin to strengthen the muscles in your back and core without straining your body.
If you feel that a balance ball chair may not be the right option for you, you may wish to consider other options, such as kneeling chairs or standard ergonomic desk chairs. These alternative desk chairs may provide you with additional comfort and support without putting as much stress on the body.
Alternative Exercise Ball Chair Options
If you are concerned that the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair may not fit your desk or your height, there are a number of alternative exercise ball chairs on the market.
For individuals who appreciate the Gaiam Classic but feel that it doesn’t suit their height needs, the Gaiam Custom Fit Adjustable Balance Ball Chair is perhaps the best alternative. The ball on the Gaiam Custom Fit is 3″ bigger in diameter (55 cm vs 52 cm for the Classic). The height of the chair is adjustable as well. Though the recommended height and weight limitations are the same as on the Gaiam Classic, the Custom Fit is likely a better option for those who are slightly taller or shorter than the chair’s recommended heights.
Other excellent stability ball chair options include the Isokinetics Balance Exercise Ball Chair and the Isokinetics Fitness Ball Chair. The Isokinetics Balance Exercise Ball Chair is non-adjustable (like the Gaiam Classic) but comes with slightly larger wheels. The Fitness Ball Chair is similar to the Gaiam Custom Fit in that its height can be adjusted; the Isokinetics version of the chair, however, comes with larger wheels and more color options for the included fitness ball.
Take your time to compare all balance ball chair options before making a final selection. You cannot go wrong with one of Gaiam or Isokinetic’s many balance ball chair options.
For individuals who are tired of feeling stiff and sore after a day in their desk chair, the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair is an excellent seating alternative to consider. Whether you select the Classic or the Custom Fit yoga ball chair, you’re guaranteed to feel an improvement in your posture and in your health.