Pretty much everybody I talk to in balance ball chair circles started with a specific exercise ball chair. At first I found it surprising that so many people would choose the original Gaiam balance ball chair as their first-time exercise ball chair.
However, by trying more than 10 exercise ball chairs, I have to confess I’m not surprised any more.
Moving from office chair to the Gaiam balance ball chair, or even from yoga ball, is a natural choice. Why?
Well, first off, nobody can say anything bad about this chair. The fact that it is the most reviewed balance ball chair and the top selling one is helping out a lot. But the main reason, in my opinion, is that Gaiam has created a chair that appeals to pretty much everybody.
Of course, in time you will start to get preferences for a bigger or smaller backside, or wanting to increase the intensity the chair exerts on your core a bit, but for a first-time user this is a chair that will make you fall in love with balance ball chairs.
I should know. It was my first exercise ball chair as well. You can check it out on Amazon here.
Original Gaiam Balance Ball Chair Review
Every balance ball chair will help you with spine pain and getting a healthier posture. If I would have to sum the original Gaiam’s one, this is a perfect way to describe it (got it from Amazon reviews)
I took it to work and it has been a hit. everyone that sits on it, comments on how they immediately feel less pain in their back and that their posture is improved.
Out of all the balance chairs, original Gaiam is a favorite for one reason – it is easy to handle and has an immediate effect on the spine.
Usually when you buy your first balance ball chair, you don’t want an average office chair which does more damage to spine than doing physical labor and you don’t want a yoga ball because god knows nobody can sit on that for 8 hours straight.
Being easy to handly and comfortable is the most important when buying your first one. Of course, eventually you’ll see the need to increase the intensity the exercise ball chair gives you or even remove the support bar (quick note: Original Gaiam balance chair has a removable support bar which is a big advantage when you want to train your back and spine harder).
Intensity of original Gaiam’s Exercise Ball Chair
What matters most when thinking about what balance ball chair to buy is intensity. What do I mean by that?
These yoga ball chairs were designed specifically to elevate back pain and create an upstanding posture. However, if you apply less pressure than necessary, the ligaments in your lower spine will not align perfectly and the back pain will not be as efficiently overcomes as with a perfect intensity chair.
On the other hand, if you choose a chair that is too intensive, your back pain will go away but just for as long as you can sit on that chair and tighten the muscles. Usually people can’t do more than 2h with a yoga ball (correct posture, not cheating by repositioning and such) and if you can’t sit on a chair for 8h office shift, then what’s the point?
To better illustrate what I mean by intensity, I’ve quickly created this intensity chart you see on your right. The most intensive standalone yoga ball is at +1 while the least intensive office chair is at -1.
And right of the chart, you see why Gaiam’s in everybody’s first choice when buying a balance ball chair. It is right there at the center – not too intensive, not too soft on your backbone. For an active person working in an office, this is a perfect chair to start with.
This level of intensity is most effective for most people, with the distinct exceptions.
Balance ball chair for elderly people
If you are an elderly person, the intensity of original Gaiam’s balance ball may be too much for your spine to handle. With years, our spines become more fragile and we don’t want to put much intensity on it at first.
In my balance ball chair reviews I will recommend you a chair my mother in law started using (Helen can be very persuasive on her parents as well). Hopefully I get to talk to her soon as see how she finds it.
Nonetheless, if you feel active and young enough, original Gaiam’s chair can be a right choice for you. Just be aware if there is any pain due to higher intensity.
Balance ball chair for very active people
I personally run a 10k every other day and consider myself pretty active. I have to admit that the original Gaiam’s yoga ball chair was a perfect solution for me at first. I can’t go over the memory of sitting for it the first time. It’s like waking up from a bad dream. Ligaments just realign naturally and you don’t want to move at all.
However, if you are a very active person, you might find the original Gaiam’s not intensive enough. Your core will be tightened but if you already have an iron core tightening will not give you additional results – as far as sixpack is concerned (I don’t have it but I heard people talking about how you can really work those muscles just by sitting, it’s quite intriguing).
I will go ahead and review a very intensive chair that was specifically designed to not only strengthen the core (because every balance ball chair does that) but to really bring out the core muscles. Doing sit-ups few times a week is nothing in comparison with 8h sitting on an intensive balance ball chair. Your abs will be aching after first few days, I can guarantee that!
Here are some exercises you can do with a balance ball chair:
Features of Original Gaiam’s Balance Ball Chair
Here are some numbers for the original Gaiam’s. I am aware that these numbers don’t mean much to a first time user but I’ll try my best to explain them in a sentence or two.
- Ball size: 52 cm (this is a regular yoga ball size you will find in majority of exercise chairs, with an exception of children’s balance ball chairs)
- For 5’0″ to 5’11” height (this is from 150 cm to 180 cm to Europeans. If you fit this range, the balance ball will fit your posture perfectly – I will recommend a balance ball chair for taller people as well, asap)
- Back support bar – adjustable (back support is important in first balance ball chair. The best thing about it being adjustable? You can adjust the intensity by adjusting the back support bar and it is really simple)
- 300 lbs weight capacity (this is about 140 kg for Europeans. Yoga balls have a limit of how much weight they can handle without much stress. 300 lbs is a standard weight capacity and most people are way under that limit)
- Builds healthy back and gets you on your feet again (I always tell that the most important thing about balance balls is how they make you feel. Yes, they do correct your spine and posture, but the effect of having that in place is a new life without the pain every step of the way. Kind of a quick fix for life)
- BONUS air pump (yoga balls have to be refilled from time to time. This is why I really like the Amazon offer where they give you an air pump for the ball for free – you can check out what else they offer for original Gaiam’s balance ball chair here)
- Created by health and fitness experts (This just tells you that original Gaiam’s can be used for spine-correcting and pain elevation as well as for building that core muscles that look great on the beach. Two birds with one stone thing)
Design of Original Gaiam’s Balance Ball Chair
The balance ball chair design is important, especially if you are considering to you the chair in the office. The first time I rolled in my Gaiam’s, everybody wanted to sit on it right away. It was quite a miraculous first impression.
However, be aware that you must like it because you are going to sit on it every day. And looks are important.
For an office environment, I find the original black color very fitting. Of course, if you work at Google, you’ll want something more colorful. But for a standard office you, the black gives that essence of authority and class – it is a timeless color.
Standard Balance Ball Chair Design
The design consist of the four legs with wheels, giving you the freedom of moving around. The base is made out of hard plastic that looks quite astonishing for something created out of plastic.
The yoga ball is standard, and can even be changed with another one. If you have one already at home, you can just put it in the balance ball chair and go right to the office with it. If you don’t like the color, just buy yoga ball with a different color here and make sure you pick the correct size of the ball.
To top it off, we have a solid adjustable back support. This thing is really easy to toss around and adjusts intensity like no other balance ball chair. The fact that it is as broad as it is, is just another reason why to opt for this one as a beginner – larger the support, the easier and more comfortable you will feel when lowering onto a chair for the first time.
My personal experience with Original Gaiam’s
As I said a multiple times, when you enter the world of balance ball chairs, you want to start with original Gaiam’s chair. It just has the flexibility and easiness of use that makes it a natural thing for us to use. You sit down, adjust the back support and feel the positive energy your spine is enjoying. As simple as that.
You can check out the prices and availability at Amazon (click here). They are quite helpful, have a stellar delivery and if you need parts or fix something, they will usually do it free of charge. Oh, and you even get the air pump for free!