Fueled by corporate work, an average person in America sits for at least ten hours a day. As you may have already guessed, this is unhealthy. All of us who have desk work know that we are not getting the required amount of exercise to be healthy.
Today, many people are increasingly conscious of their fitness and searching for ways to exercise productively. One of those ways is to use an exercise ball.
Exercise balls are a great fitness tool if you want to work while still maintaining your overall health. You can use a bouncing ball for several unique exercises. But, if you are here, you are probably wondering whether bouncing on an exercise ball, which has become extremely popular for work-from-home employees, counts as steps. It does!
Keep reading to know more about what counts as exercise and steps on these exercise balls and how beneficial they can be for you.
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Is Bouncing On an Exercise Ball Really Exercise?
When you think about exercise, you’d most likely imagine something vigorous such as jogging, push-ups, or squats.
While it may not look like a lot of work, bouncing on an exercise ball is definitely an exercise. Why? Because moving your body for a sustained period to exert some stress on your muscles will always count as exercise. And fitness balls promote just that.
At first glance, bouncing may look like sitting, but exercise balls are much more than that. To get a better idea of how bouncing helps you exercise, you must first understand what bouncing is.
Bouncing is exactly what it sounds like. You sit on the exercise ball as you normally would on a chair. But, here’s the catch — you have to tighten your core, focus on your abdomen, and balance on the ball while mimicking its bouncing movements. Though it is not exactly hard, it is not easy either.
When bouncing on an exercise ball, your back should be perfectly straight, your feet flat on the floor, your shoulders back, and your stomach tight. There is no room for slouching on an exercise ball.
It is recommended that you do this exercise for only 30 minutes a day. Sitting without support for a whole day is also not healthy, which we will explore later in this article.
Does Bouncing on an Exercise Ball Count as Steps?
Yes, bouncing on an exercise ball does count as steps. If you are falling behind on your recommended daily steps, smartwatches such as Fitbit and Apple Watch will record each bounce as one. Technically, if any movement grazes your smartwatch, it can be counted as a step.
However, you should know that this is technically a misinterpretation and not an alternative to walking, running, or any other activity that feeds up your step numbers. Also, bouncing should be a supplemental activity to your regular exercise, not a replacement. Bouncing is just slightly better than sitting without any physical exercise.
Besides, smartwatches are catching up with such miscounts and are adding better calibration methods. So, soon enough, your bounces may not be counted as steps.
Does Bouncing on an Exercise Ball Burn Calories?
Yes, it does. An activity cannot be an exercise if it doesn’t help you lose calories. Thankfully, bouncing on an exercise ball involves movement through which you can lose calories.
According to an NBC article, you can burn up to 50 calories in an hour. That’s 400 calories if you sit and work for 4 hours! If you are doing your work while sitting on an exercise ball, you will burn even more calories.
So, how exactly does an exercise ball help burn calories? The answer lies in the muscles you have to use while bouncing on it. This brings us to another question —
Does Bouncing On an Exercise Ball Help Increase Your Core Strength?
Like any other exercise, bouncing on an exercise ball will increase your strength in some form.
There’s a reason why exercise balls are also called stability balls — they enhance your balance and put your muscles to work. This is because when you are using an exercise ball, you have to utilize your core muscles, thus helping improve your balance.
The muscles in your abdomen and back form your core muscles are connected to your spine and pelvic area.Thus, regular exercise on the ball will increase your core strength.
If you are not used to regular exercise, using an exercise ball might initially lead to you to experiencing cramps or lactic acid build-up. But it is not a demanding physical activity, so the discomfort should go away after a day or two.
While all this may make exercise balls sound like a dream to use, unfortunately, there is evidence suggesting that bouncing or sitting on exercise balls can do more harm than good if used improperly.
Despite several claims that exercise balls are beneficial for your posture, some studies have shown that long-term, regular use of exercise balls can compress your spine without improving your posture.
So, exercise balls are no more advantageous than sitting on a chair. Experts say you will only experience more discomfort and see no improvement whatsoever.
If you are thinking that you will at least burn calories, not much benefits there either. Turns out, you also burn calories when you sit in a chair. According to a recent research, you will merely burn four more calories if you switch to exercise balls.
To make effective use of an exercise ball, you should ideally be using it in conjunction with a standing desk. Or you could use the exercise ball to do actual exercises when you take breaks from your work. This will help with your posture as well as keep you active.
Exercise balls, when used properly, are great to get your daily dose of fitness. However, as we’ve shown above , they are not good to use for a long period , compared with chairs. Try to take frequent breaks instead and work out regularly. Your brain works a lot better after 15 minutes of physical activity. Not only will you be healthier, your results will also be much better with greater productivity.
Or better yet, use a standing table and a treadmill together to make up for your steps!