Contributed by-Dr. Dhrity Vats
Exercise ball is the new fitness trend that has taken over the world. It is the new way to stay fit and also help in dealing with posture problems. More famous as the fit ball, they are indeed a great way to workout. If you have not still made these awesome exercise balls your fitness companion, then do it now without delay.
Also known as stability balls, they help you build the core muscles and take your workout to the next level. Read, to get answers to all your why’s and how’s about the exercise balls.
What Is An Exercise Ball?
An Exercise ball also known as a Swiss or a Physio Ball is a rubber inflated ball used for exercising, toning and strengthening of muscles and body. They are available in different size and colours. Infact, the size and colour of the balls define their size. The colour of the balls in accordance to the size is listed below:
- Yellow ball: 18inches/45cm: ideal for height 4’7” – 5’
- Red ball: 22inches/55cm; ideal for height 5’1” – 5’6”
- Green ball: 26inches/65cm; ideal for height 5’7” – 6’1”
- Blue ball: 30inches/75cm; ideal for 6’2” – 6’8”
- Silver ball: 33inches/85cm; ideal for 6’9” above
While buying exercise balls it is important to consider your height. As your feet should be able to touch the ground leaving an angle of more than 90 on the hip joint and around 90 degree on the knee joint while you are sitting on the ball.
These fit balls can be used in different form of exercises and to gain:
- Better posture
- Cardio endurance
- Muscle strength
They also help prevent back pain caused due to muscle imbalance or a weak core.
What are the benefits of using exercise balls? Please list separately for each kind of exercise ball?
Exercise balls are a really smart and great way to exercise. So, it is wise to introduce this amazing equipment in your exercise regime. There are several benefits attached with them and as the ball being an unstable smooth surface gives a larger group of muscles to act. These muscles are mainly the core body muscles, abdominal and back muscles. The balls add challenge to the exercise program and helps in body strengthening.
The gym ball can be used as per your choice of exercise. They can be used to increase core muscle strength, back muscles, pelvic muscles, thigh muscles and is also helpful during pregnancy. Some of the major ball exercises are:
- Wall squat
- Leg curl
- Standing ball squeeze
- Hamstring curl
- Ball lunge
- Balance push-up
- Back extension
- Knee extension
- Balancing on the core
The do’s and don’ts
Like anything else exercise balls do have their own set of do’s and don’ts that need to be followed religiously.This set of do’s and don’ts will help prevent any injuries and help reap the benefits of the fit balls.
- Choose the right ball for yourself
- Use the ball on a well carpeted open area to prevent injury after any fall
- Do it under a guidance of physiotherapist or a qualified gym instructor
- Progress slowly from a beginner to a pro
- Keep the ball in a cool place
- Clean them regularly with soap water
- Do not overinflate the ball
- Do not use it near sharp objects
- Keep them away from sunlight
- Do not stand on them
- Do not use it as a toy
- Do not use it as a chair
Some Simple Exercises That Can Be Done At Home Using Exercise Balls
A few simple exercises for beginners to start at home are given below:
Wall Squats: Squats help you achieve a strong core or rectus abdominus, stronger quadriceps and help relax back muscles.
- Hold the ball between your back and the wall
- Keep your feet more than a foot wide
- Slowly squat down, rolling the ball with your back against the wall
- Hold for atleast 5 seconds
- Then stand up slowly
- Roll up the ball to the interscapular region of your back
Inner Thigh Squeeze: This exercise is helpful in strengthening the inner part of the thigh muscles.
- Sit on the edge of a chair with your back straight
- Place the ball between your knees, with your knees wider than your hips
- Start to move by squeezing your knees together while involving your core
- Lean back one to two inches as you squeeze the ball
- Return back to start while relaxing your knees around the ball, but making sure not to drop it
Leg Extension : A set of anti-gravity exercises which shall strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings and will balance the body as well.
- Sit on the ball with your feet flat and at hip distance, keeping your core engaged
- Lift one foot and straighten your leg.Your calf should be parallel to the floor
- Release your foot back to the floor and lift your other foot. Repeat the leg extension
Besides giving you a good overall muscle tone, the ball also helps in rehabilitation of the back, hip and knee injuries. Exercises for back stability, core stability and lower limb strengthening work best with these balls.
Exercise balls have proven time and again, beneficial for pregnant females. During pregnancy these exercises give strength to the abdominal muscles which is important for sustaining a healthy pregnancy and labor. When the abdominals are strong they enable the mother to push the child during birth. The back strengthening helps give a good posture and reduce the load on back. Having strong back reduces the sciatica pain which is common during late pregnancy.
The most important thing is that an exercise ball should be used by someone who has already been exercising as it becomes easy for them to balance the body with different workouts.
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