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Since lockdown began, many of us have spent a ridiculous amount of time stuck in the house. If I’m not out on school runs, I’m either attending my university classes or working online. This, of course, means I spend a lot of my hours hunched over a computer desk.
Over the last few months, I started experiencing more back pain than usual, and my posture has been pretty questionable. I decided to scour Amazon for a newer, more supportive computer chair. Unfortunately, the prices were much higher than what I had budgeted for, so I decided to look for an alternative.
What is a yoga ball?
I had a flash of an idea that perhaps using a yoga ball instead of a computer chair would be a suitable solution. I remembered using those yoga balls (also called birthing balls or pregnancy balls) to ease pregnancy back pain. Often in our baby groups, we were encouraged to sit on yoga balls to allow movement around our hips and safely stretch our backs out. They can be used for pregnancy exercises and even help induce labor.
While I wasn’t looking to use one for birthing ball exercises or use the exercise ball to induce labor, I still felt that it could significantly help my back pain and posture. I decided to use it instead of my computer chair to help get my hips moving while typing away.
After a little research on which yoga ball size would be best, I decided to go for the medium (48-55 cm) ball by Trideer. I had to consider that I am relatively short (5’6″) and that I needed it to be the right size to fit under my desk when I sit on it. At just over $20, and with a significant number of good reviews, it seemed a bargain to sort out my aching back.
How to use the yoga ball
It came in a relatively small box, and inside it was a hand pump, extra ball plugs, the ball itself, and a little tool to get the plug out quickly. I was quite surprised at how thick the ball itself felt. It didn’t feel thin or feel like it would burst easily. There were instructions on inflating the ball, with a tape measure to stick on the wall to ensure you got the right size, but if I am honest, I just started inflating it until it looked full and about the right size.
It took a while to pump up the first time as the ball is quite large, and using a hand pump is not something I am used to. I decided to do it all in one go, but you could quickly plug it in and come back to it if you had to. It probably took me 20 minutes to get inflated where I wanted it.
After sitting on it (and messing around for a bit), I rolled it up to my desk. At first, it seemed too high to fit under. I quickly realized that when I sat on it, the ball sort of squished just enough that it was the perfect height. I spent about 1-2 hours sitting on it as I typed away for my first try. I say “sitting” on it, but it was more like bouncing about, rotating my hips, dipping them back and forth. It felt amazing to be active while sitting, and I could immediately feel a difference in my lower back.
Sitting on a yoga ball is a much more mobile activity than sitting in a stiff computer chair. The apparent downside is there is no backrest or armrest like a regular computer chair. On the flip side, this forced me to sit up straighter, drastically improving my posture.
Two months after purchasing the Trideer exercise ball, it is part of my daily rotation when spending long days on the computer. I now sit on my chair for some hours. At lunchtime, I get up, walk around, stretch my back over the Trideer ball, then I use the ball as a “chair” for a few hours.
One of my 3 kids usually bounces on it. At first, I was worried they might burst it, but the plastic is super thick and so far has been thrown, kicked, and bounced on like a space hopper. I still haven’t had to reinflate it at this stage; it has kept its shape and height correctly, but if it does start to deflate, I have the hand pump it comes with to refill it.
Other benefits of a yoga ball
- It significantly reduces my back pain during the week, and I am glad I decided to purchase it.
- It helps decompress the spine, open up the chest, and relieve tight shoulders. It feels fantastic, to be honest.
- It is also great during exercise (you know its actual intended purpose!). Yoga ball exercises allow me to do crunches pain-free.
- You can also use it for chest presses and other weight lifting activities, but that might be more difficult for some users as it takes a good deal of balance.
- It’s also my kids’ exercise ball, so I can attest to just how sturdy this ball seems to be.
Why you should buy the Trideer exercise ball
Honestly, it was probably one of the best purchases I made during the lockdown. However, it takes up a bit of floor space, and I can’t be bothered deflating and reinflating it. You can easily solve this if you have a handy cupboard to put it in a space specifically set up for exercise. I leave it in my living room in the corner next to my computer desk though it hardly stays in one place as everyone wants to have a shot at it.
While I have to make sure one of my kids doesn’t fly it into the TV, it’s a fantastic buy, and I highly recommend it.
So whether you are looking for a pregnancy or birthing ball for whether for yoga ball exercises or for inducing labor, or an exercise ball that is sturdy and reliable, or an alternative desk chair, or an unexpected toy for the kids, the Trideer yoga ball will get the job done.