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does your office have balls? June 19, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Observations, Seen Elsewhere.
Tags: , , , , ,

Most of us are in one of two groups: questing for the perfect office chair, or fighting to keep the perfect office chair from being stolen.

When we bought a local competitor and merged with them, I obtained what, to me, was the perfect office chair. It was the best one I’d ever owned. It probably cost $400. All I had to do was stick my name on it, wait for the chair giveaway to end, and then go get it. I used it in good health and happiness for almost two years, until we moved to our new building, and then I brought it home*

The new chairs over here aren’t so great. I mean, they start out that way, but the cushions are relatively thin and some of our employees are super-sized. You can always tell when you’re sitting in a chair used by one of them because there’s little-to-no cushion left between your ass and the metal part of the chair.

Oh, and we’re not allowed to bring in our old chairs. Everything has to match.

Too bad, because that means my office will never have balls.

From KnoxNews.com:

“Stability balls create good posture by gradually building core abdominal strength,” says Philip Clift, licensed massage therapist and certified yoga instructor with Glowing Body Yoga Studio, 711 Irwin St. “A person is forced to sit upright with a more elongated spine, which strengthens the deep abdominal musculature and works to prevent the rounding of the mid-back and slumping forward of the shoulders so often associated with traditional chair sitting.”

Clift says the effects of using a stability ball come gradually but palpably. “Over time, this will decrease lower-back pain and stiffness and reduce tension through the neck and shoulder area, decreasing stress levels and the tendency to acquire tension headaches. After an initial period of adjustment, using stability balls should increase energy levels and concentration ability, which may increase productivity.”

Photo by Kelly Cookson

Photo by Kelly Cookson

It’s an interesting idea, though given how many people these days have back injuries, having balls may not be the best option. Still, if your office is willing to give them a try, why not bring one in? Your wife (or you, if you’re a woman) may have one from when she was pregnant; mine does. I’d just be concerned that management would kick my balls if they caught me sitting on them.**

The article also warns that relative fitness level also contributes greatly to how easy it will be to adjust to sitting on a ball instead of a chair. I’d be more concerned about my posture because I have a tendency to lean; in fact, I’m leaning to one side right now as I type. But if I was sitting on a ball, I don’t think I’d have it so easy. I’d probably lean all the way forward, and that’s even worse. At least now I’m getting support for my back via the back of the chair, even though the height adjustment device is digging into my hip quite a bit. I probably should move.

The concept of sitting on balance balls speaks to the clash between traditional office values and new and exciting technology; depending upon where you work, you’ll either be encouraged to try new things or stick to the old ways. If you’re reading this blog, you probably wish you could do the former but are shoehorned into doing the latter.

Grow some balls, corporate America. Then sit on them.

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* We were all encouraged to bring our office chairs home, I guess to save on dumpster costs.

** Enough ball jokes for you? Good, because I’m moving on.



1. Graham - June 20, 2009

A couple people in my office “have balls” including a girl that im currently seeing. someone came into the office onetime and asked her about using it. She replied “it hurts at first but after awhile it feels pretty good” – Thats what she said….

o yea, shes got rock hard abs too…

2. CathrynG - June 20, 2009

The only balls in my office are on the last remaining ping pong table and the final pool table – remnants of the dot-com boom.

No balls, but I’m sitting straighter after reading your post.

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