Active Sitting Science

Overview

The Science
Stability ball chairs are not just another trendy fad. The health benefits of sitting on exercise balls are backed by solid science.

Numerous independent studies have been conducted by medical doctors, chiropractors, occupational therapists and ergonomists supporting these claims.

Research has shown that “active sitting” significantly reduces spinal compression which over time can lead to disc degeneration. The dynamic movement of sitting on an unstable ball also normalizes spinal fluid diffusion and provides proper nourishment to the cartilage cells that help to keep the discs elastic and strong.

The Evolution Chair’s ergonomic design successfully passed rigorous testing by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association to achieve product recognition status and we are actively endorsed and promoted by a wide range of medical professionals.

The all-inclusive Evolution Chair Kit includes risers to adjust the base height (essential for proper ergonomic positioning), the smooth rolling base provides safety, stability, and effortless maneuverability, and the back-less design triggers core engagement which is necessary for health and postural benefits.

The Evolution Chair’s versatile design has become immensely popular in multiple environments including schools, home offices, dental offices, aesthetic centers, call centers, and air traffic control centers.

The bottom line is “active sitting” promotes the health benefits derived from movement, and stability balls provide the best solution.

Ergonomics

Our company focuses on fulfilling the ergonomic goals of health, safety and productivity. Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.

The Science of Ergonomics
Our company focuses on fulfilling the ergonomic goals of health, safety and productivity. Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.

Posture Perfect Solutions Ltd. knows the importance of providing a “fit” between the user, equipment and their environments and therefore we designed a height adjustable ball chair.   Height adjustability is vital for proper posture because your knees need to be lower than your hips while sitting. Risers are included with the Evolution Chair to raise the height of the base to accommodate anyone between 5’ – 6’5”. The ball can also be inflated from 50 cm – 60 cm for your ideal ergonomic position and comfort level.

Active sitting also leads to increased brain stimulation, alertness and learning ability. Studies done in classrooms revealed marked improvement in students’ ability to focus, take notes, and engage in class discussions while sitting on stability ball chairs.

Stability ball chairs provide a healthy ergonomic option in the workplace. Using a dynamic seat instead of a conventional chair engages “active sitting”. This consistent movement relieves spinal compression and enhances movement allowing for normal fluid diffusion and hydration.

The result is improved posture, balance, core strength and productivity. As the body adjusts to the subtle bounce, sway and tilt of the ball, deep core muscles are engaged. These constant small adjustments build the endurance and strength of the postural muscles which facilitate optimal posture.

Cellular Biology

Research in cellular biology has shown that the cartilage cells of our inter-vertebral discs receive nourishment from movement rather than from regular blood supply. Normal healthy discs are fed and oxygenated by the constant recycling of the disc fluid that occurs with normal spinal joint movement.

This joint motion sucks in fluid filled with oxygen and nutrients and pumps out waste fluid. This process of fluid diffusion is greatly affected by internal disc (intradiscal) pressure. If this movement is insufficient, the spinal discs will gradually lose their elasticity. Cartilage cells begin to die off starting from the centre and gradually working outwards. This process can lead to an eventual prolapse (“slipped disc”) with associated severe back pain.

One of the most popular solutions prescribed for increasing joint movement is exercise on a stability ball. These balls are lightweight and affordable, making them an attractive option for the average consumer.

In addition to using exercise balls as fitness equipment, there is also a growing movement toward using balls as chairs. This is particularly evident for office workers. Workers using conventional office chairs and computer furniture often suffer from pain in their lower and/or upper back, due to a lack of movement as well as high-compression loads on their spine. Compression results from performing repetitive, harmful activities such as bending, lifting or twisting.

Even prolonged sitting can create abnormally high levels of disc compression which can lead to decreased hydration when more fluid is pushed out of the disc, rather than pulled into the disc. This slowly creates a deflated or dehydrated disc. The medical term for this lack of disc fluid is disc desiccation. This is the MRI finding most commonly used to identify degenerative disc disease.

Articles

American Journal Occupational Therapy. 2003 Sep-Oct;57(5):534-41.
Classroom seating for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: therapy balls versus chairs.
Schilling DL, Washington K, Billingsley FF, Deitz J.


Journal Autism Dev Disord. 2004 Aug;34(4):423-32.
Alternative seating for young children with Autism Spectrum
Disorder: effects on classroom behavior.
Schilling DL, Schwartz IS.

Use of the Stability Ball as a Chair in the Classroom
Study by Lisa N. Witt
Tavelli Elementary, 2001

Sharpening the Mind Through Movement:
Using Exercise Balls as Chairs in a University Class (page 10)
John Kilbourne, Grand Valley State University

Journal Can Chiropr Assoc 2007; 51(1)
The gym ball as a chair for the back pain patient:
A two case report
Larry G Merritt, DC*
Celynne M Merritt, DC*

Journal Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010 May;40(5):265-76.
Core muscle activation during Swiss ball and traditional abdominal exercises.
Escamilla RF, Lewis C, Bell D, Bramblet G, Daffron J, Lambert S, Pecson A, Imamura
R, Paulos L, Andrews JR.

Ergonomics. 2001 Jun 10;44(7):739-50.
Effects of dynamic office chairs on trunk kinematics, trunk extensor
EMG and spinal shrinkage.
van Dieën JH, de Looze MP, Hermans V.

Effects of swiss-ball core strength training on strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance in sedentary women.
Sekendiz B, Cuğ M, Korkusuz F.

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008 Jun;103(3):353-60. Epub 2008 Mar 20.
Increasing passive energy expenditure during clerical work.
Beers EA, Roemmich JN, Epstein LH, Horvath PJ.

Aust J Physiother. 2002;48(1):55.
Long-term effects of specific stabilizing exercises for first-episode low back pain.
Hides JA, Jull GA, Richardson CA.
Department of Physiotherapy, Mater Misericordiae Public Hospitals, South Brisbane,
Queensland, Australia. backclin@mater.org.au

Journal Strength Cond Res. 2002 Aug;16(3):416-22.
Muscle force and activation under stable and unstable conditions.
Behm DG, Anderson K, Curnew RS.
School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St.
John’s, Canada A1C 5S7. dbehm@morgan.ucs.mun.ca

Comparison between Evolution Chair and Standard High Back Chair with Arm Rests 
Written by David Marcarian, MA
NASA Trained SEMG Researcher & Designer of MyoVision
Equipment Used: MyoVision 8000 SEMG System
Date: May 26th, 2005

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