While some like to scoff at the ephemera of modern life, we wouldn’t be who we are without it. Whether it’s a television show, movie, book, underground cultural phenomenon, or beauty product, there are certain events that changed the course of our lives. In our Life Changer series, we’re sharing the things that helped us become who we are today, and hopefully, inspire you to try them out for yourselves.
Truthfully, I hate to exercise. It takes a lot of effort for me to motivate myself to set foot in the gym when I could be catching up on sleep (or anything else, really) in my bed. Growing up, I was always fit because I was involved in physical activities like dance (ballet, tap) and sports (basketball, tennis, softball, volleyball), so it never crossed my mind that I was exercising. But once I went on to college, that 14-year-long routine came crashing to a halt. No longer forced to attend practice, I had to learn how to work out on my own, whether on machines at the gym or in a fitness class; not to mention, it became hard to find time to fit regular exercise into my life.
One result of this lack of an exercise routine is that my posture has become worse. It can feel like all of the stress and tension from my life is stored in my shoulders, and I carry that weight with me everywhere I go. This isn't helped by working at a desk full-time. By the end of 2016, it had become impossible to ignore the excruciating pain in my shoulders and lower back. Looking to resolve this issue, I began examining my surroundings to figure out where I could make adjustments. It soon dawned on me that I had been sitting on the problem all this time—literally.
Every day, I sit at my desk for 10-plus hours straight. On average, I spend approximately 50 hours a week in a chair that was proving increasingly uncomfortable. After researching the best alternative chairs, I settled on Sivan Health and Fitness' top-rated Balance Ball chair, hoping it would make a change in my posture and pain.
It's been a month now that I've been sitting on a bouncy ball, and it has worked wonders. A word of warning first: The idea of bouncing on a ball all day seems appealing, but that's not actually the purpose of this chair. Doing so while staring at a computer screen will make you dizzy, so it's best to avoid that (as I soon found out). Rather, the way the ball works is by engaging you constantly as you work to stay balanced, leading to an active day of sitting. (Who even knew that was possible?) And don't worry that you never get to relax—the ball comes in a chair frame, which allows you to lean back if you need that kind of support.
This is more than just an exercise ball, though; it actually molds your body into assuming "perfect posture." In the beginning of my journey to this new way of sitting, it was challenging—I'm short, and the chair is lower than my desk, so I had to sit all the way up—but this is how it's supposed to be; this is what encourages the ideal sitting position. You also have to pump air into it every week because it deflates a bit, but even that's a great (if modest) use of upper body strength. The ball fit chair has wheels on the bottom of it, too, so you can move around the floor like everyone else. Sometimes, I'll stretch on it which gets my blood circulation flowing. Once I hit the end of the day, I even have enough energy to roll out and hit the gym. It's been an adjustment, but I've been determined to make this work. The only real drawback is that I've almost fallen off the ball a few times when I leaned over too far.
Not only does the ball fit chair activate your core (you can do up to 10 poses on it), but it also pushes you into a state of mind where you will be completely focused on the tasks at hand. I can't really explain how this happened, but I do feel like my attention to detail has never been more zeroed in. This chair has been a benefit to both my physical and mental health. I didn't expect to be fully converted, but I don't think I'll be switching back to my former chair anytime soon.