There are numerous benefits from using an exercise ball. First, let's discuss what an exercise ball is and where it came from. The exercise ball was developed by Aquilino Cosani, an Italian plastics manufacturer in 1963. He called it a “Swiss Ball”. At first, it was used as a therapy tool by pediatrician Dr. Elsbeth Kongan. Later the “Swiss Ball” was used for physical therapy in a clinical setting. These exercise balls are now used in athletic training and various fitness routines like yoga, Pilates strength training. An exercise ball is made of soft elastic plastic. It is typically 35 centimeter (14 inches) to 85 centimeter (34 inches) in diameter when filled with air.
How do you know which exercise ball is the right fit? When you sit on the exercise ball with your ankles directly under your knees, your thighs should be parallel to the floor. If not, you can add air or inflate the ball to adjust its size.
The primary benefit from using an exercise ball as opposed to using a hard flat surface is how the body responds to the instability of the ball. A person must engage in their core to maintain balance. As you continue to use the exercise ball, your core will get stronger.
Other benefits include:
using your own body weight
supports the back and spine
gives a cardio burn
aids in sports performance
When you first start using an exercise ball, it can be challenging due to the ball being an unstable surface. As you gain core strength, it becomes easier to maintain your balance. Once you gain strength and confidence, you can add dumbbells, resist-a-bands and medicine balls to your workout routine to make it more challenging. Performing exercises by using one leg or by alternating your arms are also progressions as you continue to gain strength and core stability.
If you would like to learn more about how to use an exercise ball properly, set up a session with one of our certified personal trainers. They can help guide you to making your workout routine most effective in reaching your fitness goals!
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
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Personal Trainer, The Gym @ Milford