Most of us know about exercise balls, they are the big colorful balls we usually see at the gym. You can also have an exercise ball for your workouts at home. For those who are new, they are balls made up of soft elastic filled up with air. You can get them in different sizes. Some people know them by different names such as birth ball (they help in pregnancy), balance ball, medicine balls, Swiss balls, physio ball, therapy ball, stability ball or yoga ball etc. The list of names alone suggest of the kind of uses of this simple exercise equipment.
Benefits of exercise balls
Perhaps the biggest benefit of using them is that our body adapts and adjusts to the movement and instability of the ball as opposed to doing exercise on a stable hard surface. This engages a lot more muscles and gives you a better workout. Moreover it also provides you cushion for some of your workouts. You can improve your body stability as well as body posture with these balls. A simple isolated exercise can be turned into a whole body workout as you use a lot of smaller muscles to be stable.
- Improve core stability – You can improve the core stability of your body with them with exercises which includes abdominal and back muscles. When you have strong core muscles, you can be more effective in your daily activities like bending, lifting, throwing, running etc.
- Improve the health of back and spine – As you workout and stretch on the ball, you get a relief from your back and spine problems. This is also the reason why you see them at physiotherapy centers. They are used in a lot of therapies.
- Posture Improvement – Strengthening, stretching and exercise of your back and abdominal muscle also mean that you improve your postures. Good postures will keep natural curves of your body and prevent a lot of health problems.
- Correction of muscle imbalance – When you just concentrate on one part of a muscle group and ignore the other it causes a muscle imbalance. Stability exercises on a ball can help you in correcting that muscle imbalance. For eg – Most people will concentrate on arm and chest exercises more than back and hips which causes an imbalanced growth of muscles.
These exercise balls are available in different sizes, you can choose your size according to the exercises, your comfort level and space. Most common sizes are 45cm, 55cm, 65cm, 75cm and 85cm in diameter.
Workouts and exercises
There are a lot of different workouts and exercises which can be done on a ball. These can range from stretching to weight training. Now what kind of exercise you choose depends on the kind of fitness goals you have. Here are some of the good exercises which can be followed.
Use in pregnancy
Exercise balls are also effective in pregnancy when you need gentle non impact but effective workouts. They are also used to induce labor and sometimes they are used as chair in pregnancy. They are also known as birth balls because of this.
Another popular use of these balls is as a ergonomic chair. You can use them as desk chairs or even chairs in your office. There are mixed opinions on this as there have been studies which don’t really find any benefits with ball chairs.
So if you are looking for cheap and versatile equipment at home which can be used by everyone for different uses then this could easily be the one. Most of the workouts can be done without any additional equipment.