The leaflet that came with this product I’ve been sent to review says “thank you for joining the evolution“. What I have is the Evolution Chair; essentially a Swiss Ball exercise ball on casters designed to use as an office chair. I know people who sit on a Swiss Ball at work and I was intrigued to see whether or not this would be a comfortable way for me to work at home.
The idea of sitting on a ball instead of a standard office chair with back and arms is to allow your core muscles to strengthen while you work. Something called “ergonomic adjustability” (yes I think that’s a made up word) is said to have a profound influence on the health of your body. The absence of a backrest creates “dynamic active sitting”, triggering movement of the spine to balance and stabilise the muscles in your lumbar and abdominal areas. Basically if you sit on a ball while you work you can’t sit still, and that constant movement helps to strengthen your core muscles.
The chair comes in a box so you have to put it together. This is particularly straightforward, there is really no need for the instructions. The only thing you do need to check before you assemble the whole thing is whether or not you need the extended legs before you put the casters on. I just automatically put them on but then realised I couldn’t reach the floor so had to take them off again! The other thing to remember is you should only partly inflate the ball on the first day to allow it unfold properly before you fully inflate it.
Once assembled I played about with how much air there was in the ball to make sure I had my sitting position as it should be. If you are sitting on the evolution chair with your feet flat on the floor, your hips and knees should form an angle slightly greater than 90 degrees; as in your hips should be slightly higher than your knees. Because I am short I had to take a little air out of the ball for it to be just right, giving me a soft and comfortable cushioned ball to sit on.
Getting used to sitting on a ball on wheels was quite difficult to start with. It felt unusual and after just a few minutes my back ached. Going back to the instructions (I knew I should have read them all the way through to start with), I saw that your body does need time to get accustomed to sitting on the ball. They suggest starting with short periods for your first week and progressing to longer sitting periods. After a few times of using the ball instead of my office chair I found it rather comfortable. Although I am sitting with the correct posture I still find that I’m little high from my office desk and the screen needs to be raised, but that’s easily done with a couple of reams of paper.
I have to say I quite like the evolution chair. I know it is an odd thing really but I find it comfortable I’m really hoping that it’s making a big difference to my core – or at least that it will do after several months of using it (maybe even without me noticing!). I’ve also been using the ball off its casters as an traditional exercise ball. I used to attend a Swiss Ball exercise class and thoroughly enjoyed it, it really made a difference to my strength, so I’ve been doing those exercises too – hopefully an added bonus!
The evolution chair is available from JD Harris and costs £99.95. I have a £30 off discount code here for you too – EVOTU.
Would you sit on one at work or in your home office?