Swop your desk chair for a therapy ball, and keep slim
If you work at a desk job, you'd burn a couple of dozen more calories if you exchanged your chair for a therapy ball, write researchers at State University of New York at Buffalo in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. Sitting on a therapy ball at your desk won't shift kilos of excess fat, but it can prevent you from putting on more weight.
The number of obese people on this planet is still on the increase, despite all attempts to fight the fat epidemic. But surely it can't be that difficult to stop the rising numbers of obese people?
Studies have shown that the average overweight adult has become obese by ingesting about 15-50 kilocalories more than he or she has burned on a daily basis. [Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2006 Apr;26(4):729-36.] [Science. 2003 Feb 7;299(5608):853-5.] [Obes Res. 2005 Aug;13(8):1431-41.]
This means that a 15-50 kilocalorie increase in the number of calories burned daily would prevent many people's fat reserves from growing. And 15-50 kilocalories is not so much.
Researcher Erik Beers looked at whether it was possible to increase the number of calories burned by about that much by substituting a therapy ball for your desk chair. The results were published in 2008 in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. Sitting on a therapy ball requires above all your core muscles to work harder, so it should result in you burning more calories.
And this was indeed the case. Beers' 12 male and 12 female subjects burned 4.1 kilocalories more per hour when sitting on a therapy ball than when sitting on a chair.
The figure above shows that the subjects found that sitting on a therapy ball was just as comfortable as sitting on a chair. They were also just as productive on a therapy ball as they were when sitting on a chair. Beers discovered this by getting the subjects to type and counting how many words they produced in an hour.
The subjects told Beers that they would be prepared to sit on a therapy ball for four hours each day that they worked. In those four hours they would burn an extra 16.4 kilocalories.
No, sitting on a therapy ball at work is not the solution to the obesity epidemic, but every little bit helps.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008 Jun;103(3):353-60.
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