As a person who works on the computer all day long (and does not see as much of the gym as one should!), I definitely love the idea of incorporating exercise into the work day. The Gaiam Balance Ball Chair is a combination of workout equipment and office furniture in one. After seeing the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair on the Dr Oz Show (here is a recap of the Dr Oz Gaiam Balance Ball Chair segment), I was intrigued. So many questions popped into my mind: Could it be comfortable? Could it really improve your back health and posture? Could you really exercise while working at your computer? When Gaiam offered to let me try out the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair, I was excited to find out the answers to all of these questions.
A little bit of background on the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair – it was developed by Dr Randy Weinzoff, a chiropractor, as a chair to alleviate all of the aches and pains that we get in our back and legs while working at a desk for hours on end. The height of the chair is 2.5 feet tall, and it is designed for people between 5′ and 5’11” tall who weigh 300 pounds or less. And I can tell you this much, my husband who is 6’3″ could not use the Gaiam Balance Ball Chair, but then again, he also cannot sit comfortably in any sedan or small SUV. Luckily, I am 5’4″ though, so this will definitely be my chair and not his!
The Gaiam Balance Ball Chair comes in plum (purple), pool (blue), sage (green) and charcoal (dark gray). The only difference is the color of the ball, and I went with charcoal color because it was the most neutral choice. However, I was very tempted by the other beautiful colors. The good news is that if you ever want to change the color of the ball, you can replace just the ball for only $30.
When my Gaiam Balance Ball Chair arrived, it took me less than 10 minutes to put the whole thing together. The most time-consuming part was filling up the ball with the air pump in the photo above, but this was a fun activity to do while I watched the news anyway! I filled the ball up as much as possible, but after a few hours the instructions say that the ball will become more pliable so that you can add more air – and sure enough that is exactly what happened.
I placed my Gaiam Balance Ball Chair in front of my desk and started working on my computer. The first thing I noticed was that I could not resist the temptation to bounce and move around, which already is more activity than I usually get while sitting at my desk. I also felt my posture improve and some of my back pain was relieved, but I thought that perhaps I was just sitting up straight since it was a new chair and I wanted for it to work so badly. But several hours later, I was no longer thinking about my posture or my back when my husband walked in and said, “wow, that Ball Chair really does give you perfect posture!’ It is such a shame that Gaiam does not make a larger version for taller men, because my husband could definitely use a posture improving chair too!
Back to my list of initial questions. Could it be comfortable? Absolutely! Even after sitting on it for hours, it is surprisingly comfortable. Could it really improve your back health and posture? Definitely! After several days, my usual back pain diminished. And my last question: could you really exercise while working at your computer? The Gaiam Balance Ball Chair comes with a few exercise ideas that you can do at your desk, and apparently some of their chairs even come with a Resistance Cord (as in the photo above). I do not have that exact Resistance Cord, but I do have a resistance band which I used in the exact same way. Now when I am on the phone, I pop on my headset and exercise my arms. Plus, when you are not using the ball as part of the chair, you can use it on its own to do a whole bunch of other exercises.
The Gaiam Balance Ball Chair definitely surpassed my expectations and I cannot recommend it enough for people under 5’11” who work at their desk for many hours and are looking for the perfect combination of workout equipment and office furniture! For more information visit Gaiam’s Website.