ALDI had a special that Lifehacker noted a couple of weeks ago, offering a gym ball for the low, low price of $7.99. For that kind of money, I snapped one up -- but did it snap me into fitness or fatness?
$7.99 is a very low price for a gym ball and I wasn't expecting much, but then I wasn't looking for much out of this particular gym ball. The previous gym ball I'd owned was one that had been picked up when my wife was pregnant with our first child; it had long since died, but was a professional grade model that went for about ten times the price.
I didn't have grand fitness ambitions for this particular ball; I just wanted an alternate office chair to help with my back at a reasonable kind of price.
As you can see, you get not a whole lot of anything at $7.99; they were the same price whether you purchased a small (55cm), medium (65cm) or large (75cm) ball. I ended up picking up the medium and large, although after a fortnight's use, the medium one has been given over to the kids; it's too small for any but the very smallest adults to sit on comfortably, although it should be fine if you've got exercise in mind. Speaking of exercise, the only available pump I had was a bicycle pump, which meant it took a long while to fully inflate the 75cm ball; a nice gentle workout in itself.
The box promises that it's "Anti-Burst". I'm so glad it has an opinion on bursting, without necessarily being a promise that it won't.
Here's the fully inflated 75cm ball. I have to admit, at this stage, I wasn't so much thinking "exercise" as I was that they looked rather like something Patrick Troughton might have fought on a weekly basis back in the 1960s.
The ball itself is reasonably solid -- which is to say it hasn't burst yet, and once the air within had settled it has held its shape and consistency well over a fortnight where I've used it alternating with my regular office chair. I haven't found, as Lifehacker US' Melanie Pinola did that my spine has radically altered, but what I have found is that it's an excellent conduit to creativity. If I'm feeling flat, a switch to the ball makes me move around and fidget a little -- and then I'm back on working track. As long as this ball doesn't burst under me and make my back a whole lot worse through dropping, it will remain a worthwhile purchase.