Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Desk Chair for the Young at Heart

This is an idea that I came up with, all on my own, thought I was totally brilliant, and then discovered by reading online that people have been doing it (with good results) for years. I have terrible posture, and I work and play a lot at my computer. No matter how hard I try to keep good posture, I always end up melting down till I'm sitting on my lower spine, legs stretched out in front of me on a little foot stool......not good. I also have the beginnings of arthritis in my upper back, and if you have joint or back pain, you know that all you want to do is find a comfortable position and vegetate there, but I'm trying to push myself to keep the spine as limber as possible. "Growing old ain't for sissies".

Well, I got this idea from reading about the balance ball chairs that sell for between $75-$150 (which is actually a bargain when you're looking at ergonomic chairs), and I had already added one that got great reviews to my shopping cart on Amazon.com, but then I decided to try just the ball by itself to see whether I might even like that way of sitting. After perching on it for part of a day, I took the chair out of my shopping cart because I can't imagine that the stationary one could compare with just the ball by itself because it's just that, stationary. On this one, I bounce, jab with my fists, roll around, dance when I'm listening to music, twist, balance with my legs up, stretch forward, backwards and to both sides. It's just fun, and all the info I can find online says it strengthens the core muscles with continued use, which means better overall balance and tighter abs........and now tell me, who among us couldn't use tighter abs? As for my posture, of course there's no back to lean against, so the constant moving around reminds me to sit up straight. When that gets tiresome, it's time to take a break anyway.

To try it out for yourself, choose a ball size that allows your upper legs to be parallel with the floor when your feet are planted firmly in front of you as your arms are also parallel with the floor when your hand is on the mouse, stylus, or keyboard; I got the 75cm one and then experimented with the amount of air till it felt right. Oh, and don't get rid of your office chair just yet; it's also recommended that you work your way up to using it full-time, beginning with just a few minutes at a stretch, so to speak. In the photo it looks really tall, but of course it squishes when I sit down on it; if I fall off of it, I won't post photos of the bruises..............

Some folks who use the exercise ball at their company office desk say they have to put up with a lot of kidding from co-workers, but all I have to contend with is Jim, and he's never too surprised at my ideas anymore. I wouldn't recommend the exercise ball to anyone who's really, really overweight, or to someone who has back or joint issues more serious than mine or are very unsteady. People have gotten hurt on these things, but then people have gotten hurt walking across the living room floor. I figure there's also more of a calorie burn than just sitting with my fanny glued to my stiff office chair, another win/win proposition..........and it cost $18. Where else are you gonna find a desk chair that lets you feel like a kid for any price?

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