Gear Review: Gaiam Ultimate Balance Ball Chair

Many of us are heading into month SEVEN of working from home—with no real end in sight. Lots of companies still don’t have a timeline for going back into the office, and many will likely keep the remote situation going for a while, getting rid of office space altogether to keep employees safe and save on rent.

So let’s talk about your work-from-home situation. If don’t have a proper office setup with a desk, chair, and sizable monitor, your neck and back might be starting to notice. Looking down at a laptop screen is awful for your posture.

After doing this year nearly two years (I’ve been working remotely in 2018), I started getting a tingling sensation behind the entire left side of my face. My vision was disoriented, and looking at the computer was painful. I assumed it was eye strain from too much screen time and ordered blue light glasses.

When they didn’t help (though they are cute AF and I still wear them JIC/cause they’re cute AF), I tried the chiropractor, who dropped some knowledge on me: every inch forward you lean your head and chin to look down at the small screen puts THIRTY POUNDS of pressure on your neck.

I immediately bought a large screen monitor and propped it up to eye-height.  And I stopped working from my couch (as much).

But the chair is another big, common problem. Maybe you’re sitting at your dining room table if you’re not lucky enough to have a proper office space at home. Maybe your office chair is actually an accent chair you bought on Wayfair—stylish and comfortable and maybe it’s velvet, like mine—but about 6 inches too low and not intended for a desk.

Enter, active seating.

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I recently got Gaiam’s Ultimate Balance Ball Chair in the hopes of A) sitting up higher and fixing some ergonomic issues at the desk I spend most of my days behind and B) trying to encourage my lazy ass to be a bit more “active” while doing said desk sitting for hours and hours… and hours on end.

When I used to work in an office, I had a balance ball that I’d alternate between sitting on and using as an ottoman. It forces better posture and keeps you moving throughout the day. Engaging your core to sit up straight and being able to roll and bop around gets a bit of blood flowing. Plus, they’re just way more fun. 

Choosing a balance ball chair

Gaiam makes several awesome options for active sitting. There are a few different models of the balance ball chair, plus some cool balance ball stools that use a half ball with adjustable heights. 

The Ultimate Balance Ball Chair (pictured here) has a sleek design with a wee bit of back support. Some chairs don’t have back support, but I figured it’s better to have a little something (refer to previous statement about how many soul-sucking hours I’m sitting at a desk). It’s also less bulky than the classic model, with a sleeker base. 

Gaiam Balance Ball Chair_2

“Sit up straight!” -your mom

The chair is meant to help you “engage your core, align your spine, and even increase your energy—all while you sit.” It literally does all those things. 

Because the back support is so minimal, unlike a proper chair, you really need to activate your core to sit up straight. Hunching over becomes painful, and with the small back “rest,” you can’t really lean recline without a care in the world, so you’re constantly reminded/required to sit up straight. 

Assembly

It took me about 15 minutes to put it together start to finish. 

You simply snap the wheels into the base, screw the back support poles to the base, screw a few other bits together, and then inflate the ball with the provided hand pump. That part takes the longest, but it’s very simple and fast.

Then you’re ready to roll. 

Gaiam Balance Ball Chair_1

Balance ball chair exercises

The best part about this “chair” is that it’s also an exercise ball. The balance ball chair comes with stretches and exercises you can do from the comfort of the seated position, and you can also remove the “anti-burst” ball and use it off the base for more exercises.

A delightful distraction

In a time when we’re working from home—with no meetings in the conference room to walk to, no congregating for water cooler talk and comparing notes on the latest movie or finale, and no popping into someone’s cubicle to just shoot the shit or talk about Karen’s latest reply all fail—having a piece of workout equipment under your ass is a nice reminder to get your body moving throughout the day. 

I can easily sit at my computer for two hours straight without getting up to get a drink, use the loo, play with the cats—or anything. Yet, we all know how much more effective we are at our jobs when we take small breaks regularly. Some people suggest 5 minutes every 25 minutes. I try to do at least 5-10 minutes every hour. Not only to give my brain a break and chance to refocus, but now to get my body moving and blood flowing—even if it’s a simple toe touch and side stretch.

Specs

  • Modern chair design for heights 5’ to 5’11”
  • 52 cm Balance Ball with anti-burst construction
  • Ball removes easily for exercise use
  • Lockable easy-glide caster wheels
  • Sturdy five-wheel base is stable and mobile
  • Durable nylon and steel fabrication that is built to last
  • Ideal for the home or office
  • Comes with an easy-inflation pump
  • Includes a guide illustrating stretching and strength moves
  • Helps engage core, align spine, and increase energy
  • Patented ball chair frame design
  • Latex-free
  • Measurements: 23″W x 30″H x 23″D
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Height: for those 5′-5’11” tall

girl sitting on Balance Ball Chair

Use discount code “HAMMOCKLIVING20” to save 20% on all Gaiam products. Offer expires 12/31/20.

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