As part of the process to innovate and reinvent our workspace, the debate of whether a standing desk or exercise ball is better has become a standard part of conversation amongst employees.
In our effort to put an end to this debate we’ve compared the two; standing desk vs. exercise ball, to aid you in making an informed decision that’ll help improve your productivity and health in the office.
Also known as a stand-up desk, a standing desk allows you to work while standing instead of being seated the entire time.
The ideal standing desk is one that can be easily adjusted between a sitting or standing position. So, depending on what kind of task you’re working on you can adjust the height of the desk at any time.
A standing desk allows you to become more aware of your posture while you’re working. A lot of people that tried using a standing desk reported that the pain in their back has gotten more bearable, while some report that their pains have entirely gone away.
Your feet might start to feel the pressure after standing for longer than you’re used to, which is why something like an anti-fatigue mat or balance board can help a lot.
You can always switch between a sitting and standing position until you’re used to standing for long periods at a time.
People that are new to standing desks should ease into it by standing once in a while, let’s say every half-hour or even standing up when you’re making calls or answering e-mails. By going through with it, you’ll be able to gradually increase your standing time.
Sometimes referred to as a yoga ball, stability ball, or physioball, an exercise ball is a large elastic ball filled with air.
Exercise balls are common replacements for ergonomic chairs with your standing desk, but they offer some attractive benefits.
For one, ergonomic chairs can be used instead of the regular office chair we’ve all become accustomed to over the years. The ideal use for the exercise ball would have to be where it’s incorporated into the design of the office chair.
Some uses for the exercise ball have it sitting within a stationary frame while others have wheels attached to the frame so that it can move around like a regular swivel chair.
Exercise balls have been known to improve your core muscles, and there have been some reports that claim that they also hold some benefit for relieving lower back pain.
It’s not a foolproof solution, as you’d still need to have good posture when sitting on the ball and only then will you be able to slightly contract the muscles in your core, hips, and legs that help you stay balanced.
Stand-up desks are good at relieving the pain caused by sitting in an office chair. Sitting the entire day can get quite uncomfortable, which is why it’s good to change positions every few minutes.
An office chair puts all the pressure onto your abs and the lower back, forcing those muscles to hold all of your weight. The support you are supposed to get from your legs is entirely neglected like this.
Your legs have some of the strongest muscles in your body, so standing up to get some work done is a good way to keep them engaged.
The tightness in your upper back and neck is also decreased. Having an adjustable desk bring the monitor to your standing height allows you to hold good posture, too.
While you’re not exactly doing full-blown workouts in front of your monitor, a standing desk can still help to burn more calories an hour.
Not to mention that your mood and energy levels will also benefit from standing and changing positions. Sitting all day can be sedentary which can contribute to developing anxiety and depression in the long run.
For more information, check out our guide on how to lower a standing desk.
Exercise balls are sometimes proposed as a solution to some of the problems with standing desks.
An exercise ball encourages you to activate your core muscles because of its instability. This means that you’re constantly flexing and unflexing your muscles to stay balanced on top of the ball.
Being forced to sit up straight can also help give your chest more space to breathe properly, a regular chair often has its user slouching over the desk.
In some cases, an exercise ball is considered better simply because it can be more fun to use than a normal desk chair.
A standing desk does have its own downsides, too. Standing too much can lead to a higher risk of developing varicose veins.
More often than not a high-quality standing desk where the height can be adjusted or even an electrical standing desk can get expensive. That’s not to say there aren’t any affordable options out there.
While there have been various studies conducted into the benefits of a standing desk, the results have been varied. The exact benefits are slightly unclear.
Also, some desks need power to operate, which means the standing desk won’t go up in a power outage.
The supposed benefits of an exercise ball are actually not so significant that it can be used instead of a regular office chair.
It can also be a hassle if you have a desk that can’t adjust its height because you’d have to find the right ball size to fit under your desk. It’ll just be uncomfortable when the size of the ball and your desk height doesn’t add up.
An exercise ball has one particular risk, though. There’s always the chance that the ball could roll out from under you which can lead to a fall if you’re not careful.
Using an exercise ball for an extended amount of time can put pressure on your lower back. When you do feel uncomfortable, the only thing you can do is sit in a regular chair again to relieve some of the pressure.
It’s also important that when you’re using the exercise ball that your legs, specifically your thighs, are parallel to the ground. In other words, your knees are supposed to be bent at a 90° angle.
From what we’ve gathered it’s clear that the standing desk can bring more practical benefits to your body and workspace than an exercise ball.
An adjustable standing desk provides you with the option to either stand up or sit down according to your preference, while an exercise ball has to be bought in the right size to fit under your current desk.
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