They’re colorful and fun, extremely popular, and available in a wide variety of sizes and colors. We played with them as children, and now with our own kids, we still do.
So how could these cherished, fundamental, long-time favorite toys of childhood become so traumatizing to a full-grown adult in a weight room?
The popularity of exercise balls, also known as fitness balls, therapy balls, stability balls, or yoga balls, has blown up in recent years. These oversized plastic or rubber strength-building gizmos can be found almost anywhere nowadays, from fitness studios and office cubicles to living rooms and elementary schools.
In addition to enhancing your mobility and balance during physical exercise, exercise balls have become a fitness-favorable alternative to everyday desk chairs. However, if you’ve never taken a spin on one of these revolutionary curiosities, then trying to figure out how to use a fitness ball can be intimidating or downright embarrassing. It’s a balancing act, and one you might not want everyone to watch.
So before you try body-planking this giant rubber ball in public, replacing your office chair is a great place to start. A couple of helpful tips: First, make sure your exercise ball is the right size for your height. When you’re sitting on the ball, your legs should form a 90-degree angle at the knee. Next, when you inflate the ball, leave a little wiggle room, since the resulting indention will become your new seat.
When used as a chair, your stability ball is an excellent way to improve spinal posture and balance. Perfect posture, as it turns out, is the best way to balance on a fitness ball, and has been shown to reduce muscle strain, and in particular, lower back pain. Since you’re no longer in a “sedentary” position, you’re also strengthening your abdominals and core muscles all throughout the day as a result of your constant shifting, rolling, and rebalancing. In addition, your increased movement will improve circulation to all parts of your body, leaving you more focused and energetic for the day (and evening!) ahead. To learn more about the health benefits of stability balls in your office (or school), visit http://ow.ly/wcE730fS0xs.
There are also some great resources available to help incorporate the exercise ball into your regular fitness routine, including strength- and core-building exercises, targeted physical therapy, and specific yoga positions. The triceps dip, lower ab crunch, shoulder curl, and the infamous (ha!) plank position are all ideally suited for working out with your exercise ball. For detailed steps and diagrams on how to perform these exercise ball routines, visit http://ow.ly/MiU930fTwB3.
If you are ready to tackle one of the therapy balls scattered around your Y branch, you can also as your expert Y fitness consultant for assistance. Fitness balls are fun and for everyone! So let’s get rolling! #TakeYourTurn #HaveABall #YStrongBham
MISSION: To put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
VISION: We will lead our community to become the healthiest in America.
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