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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is sitting on a swiss ball or standing workstation better for you?

    Is it better to sit on a swiss ball or work at a standing workstation?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2

    Thanks

    Ian Montgomery

    Exercise Physiologist

    Experienced exercise physiologist specialising in musculoskeletal rehabilitation. With over 10 years experience working with clients returning to work after injuries I offer specialised physical conditioning … View Profile

    Sitting places 140% pressure through your discs when sitting, compared to 100% during standing. Using a swiss ball is great to get your back extensors working but the trouble with using it at a desk is those muscles then have to work for the length of time you sit (if at work this could be for 6-8 hours). Imagine holding your arm out straight in front of you at shouder height for 6-8 hours - how would it feel at the end of the day?
    The other important consdieration is the general health impact of sitting. Sedentary activity (ie sitting) for extended periods at work, home etc is linked with an increased risk of chronic disease and a shorter life expectancy. We spend enough of our days sitting down so any excuse to stand up is great.
    From a risk point of view there are also falls risks associated with using a swiss ball.
    The good thing about standing workstations is there are now a number of models that attach directly to a standard desk and can be reasonably affordable (around $600)

  • 1

    Thanks

    Antony Lo

    Physiotherapist

    Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist (trainee Specialist) in Marrickville, Sydney, NSW, Australia. I specialise in the spine, especially the thorax and pelvis (SIJ). I enhance sports performance, address … View Profile

    I recommend that people change their posture quite regularly (every 30mins, spend 1-2 mins moving).

    Both a Swiss ball and standing desk have their advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that you can put yourself in a terrible posture with either of them. Fatigue for both will set in and you will then adopt sub-optimal postures.

    It is best to be mindful of your posture when you can and regularly change it.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Caroline Cooper

    Physiotherapist

    Role:Practice Principal/OwnerAbout:Studied in Sydney and Graduated with a Bachelor Applied Science in Physiotherapy, in 1988. I have since completed a Graduate Certificate in Physiotherapy, gained … View Profile

    This all depends on the postural setup of the person and their tolerance for standing. Sitting on a swift ball can be beneficial for your posture. The good thing about sitting on a swift ball is that it keeps your body moving and it keeps your muscles active and engaged. It can be quite tiring for a person to sit all day on a swift ball,they could get very tired which could cause back strain.
    Working at a standing station would mean standing up at work for a full day which is probably not a good idea. You get lots of stasis in your legs, lots of circulation issues and again, this can be very tiring.
    I would recommend to the person to do a variety of work postures throughout the day and not just the same one.

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