Maybe you or someone you know has a large, air-filled fitness ball hanging around the house or even the office. That ball might be used daily, once and a while or it might be collecting dust. These balls are also known as “Swiss Balls” amongst physical therapists and are a valuable asset for rehabilitating all types of conditions from brain injuries to spine injuries. All and all, the fitness balls offer many advantages to those seeking a good home exercise program.
I can personally attest that if it was not for my fitness ball program I would not be in as good of shape that I am today. Working out in my home with my dogs always includes exercises using the ball. Because of its advantages, I have had no reason to stop or change my exercise program after 12 years of ball bliss.
Here’s my list of why I use a fitness ball:
- Fitness Balls are Compact: Compared to other popular pieces of exercise equipment like the Bow Flex and Total Gym, the ball is so easy to tuck in a corner of the house when not in use. I actually keep mine in the guest shower behind the curtain, out of sight.
- Fitness Balls are Convenient: Let’s face it; if an exercise program is not convenient, you are less likely to stick with it. By convenient, I mean you don’t have to drive anywhere, go anywhere, join anything, or do anything else except use it in the comfort of your own home.
- Fitness Balls are Cheap: At the most, you’ll spend $75 for a really good exercise ball. The cheaper ones are around $30 at your local sporting goods store. As long as you don’t pop it, you’ll have it for years to come.
- Fitness Balls are Versatile: When I mentioned that these rehabilitation devices are used for many different types of conditions, I am speaking to the fact that you can do all types of exercises with the fitness balls. Just sitting on the ball helps to improve balance and posture. When used properly, nearly every muscle in your body can be challenged. Some of my favorite resources for showing you different types of exercises on the Swiss Ball include: Spine Stabilization by Rick Jemmet and Bounce Back into Shape After Baby by Caroline Creager. There are also videos on YouTube and on DVD that can help open up an entire, complete workout program for you using the fitness ball.
- Fitness Balls are Tipsy: The best advantage about the fitness ball over most other pieces of exercise equipment, including the super expensive Reformer in Pilates gyms, is that fact that the ball challenges your balance. Because maintaining balance is a very primal, basic reflex, challenging the balance helps to activate muscle you might not have known you had like some of the deep layers of muscle in your abdominal wall. By improving your balance, you reduce your risk of falls, improve your ability to walk, and strengthen your core muscles. All of these benefits by using a simple, compact, cheap fitness ball.
Well, if this did not convince you to give a fitness ball a try, then I don’t know what will. Even when I am in pain from my weakened low back, I go find my ball just to do some gentle stretching to ease the discomfort. Can you tell that I love my ball? The fitness ball is an essential part of my fitness program. Maybe it should be part of your program too?
Published On: August 24, 2013