An exercise ball is defined as a “firm, very large, usually inflatable ball used in various exercises, chiefly to strengthen the back, pelvis, and abdominal muscles” at dictionary.com. Originally referred to as a “Swiss Ball” upon its inception, this is also known today as a balance ball, gymnastic ball, Pilates ball, stability ball, and yoga ball, among others.
Originally created as toy called Gymnastik which is created by engineer Aquilino Cosani in Italy in the year 1963, the exercise ball turned out to become a great use in the medical field. With its use, Dr. Elseth Kong and Mary Quinton became successful in developing the Bobath method-a pediatric rehab program-of stroke/neuro-developmental rehabilitation. In the year 1990s, it was introduced in the fitness world.
One of the major benefits of using exercise balls, among many others, is posture correction. Their instability forces the person using and sitting on top to balance himself/herself and thus forcing proper spine alignment. Back pains as well as other spine related concerns can also be addressed with the use of this type. Weight control is another benefit of using exercise ball as the constant movement and force required in balancing the ball helps one burn more calories than in any other exercise. A six pack figure can also be achieved by doing stability ball exercises as these types of exercise targets core body muscles found in the abdomen and back. Finally, if stronger body is what you need, exercise balls are also the way to go.
Different exercises can be done using exercise balls and there are five easy steps that can be followed in order to reap the benefits of all these exercises. The first thing to do is practicing balancing by initially trying it near a table or any solid material that can be used as support. Once done, try rotating your hips while seated on top of the ball, this will help firm up your bum. While seated on this round object, try taking it for a walk by placing your hand on each side. Such movements will help you tone up your abs. Practicing ball squats is the fourth step. This can be done by positioning yourself against a wall with the ball at your back and moving you knees in a squatting position. Finally, while doing Pilates or yoga, try doing some ball exercises along with it.
Stability balls, medicine balls, massage balls, and hand therapy balls are the four types of exercise balls one can choose from. Strength training, dynamic balance, agility exercise, and dynamic flexibility exercises can be done using the stability ball which measures around 55 to 75 cm in height. Weighing 2 to 12 pounds, medicine balls are the ones used for plyometric exercises. On the other hand we have the massage balls which are used in body rolling. Finally, we have the hand therapy balls which are the smallest at 1 inches and are designed mainly for hand exercises and manual dexterity.
Exercise balls are indeed important inventions that are beneficial both in the medical and the fitness world. As such, owning one and incorporating these equipments on one’s daily exercise routine can definitely provide one with a number of benefits.