Stability ball can improve health, performance

Published On: Sep 10 2012 11:41:50 AM EDT   Updated On: Sep 27 2012 02:21:24 PM EDT

By Echelle, Pure Matters

For the very inexpensive investment of $15-$30, owning and regularly using a Stability Ball can enhance your physical fitness and general health in an amazing way. This great piece of exercise equipment is flexible and doesn’t take up much space. And when using the stability ball, exercises that were familiar, become alien and challenging. Your muscles are doing more work in engaging and keeping you ‘stable.’ Some examples below show how the stability ball is a powerful tool in your fitness routine.

Strength & Resistance
Increasing your strength is very important in the well-rounded picture of physical fitness. Incorporating the stability ball into your exercise routine to vary the difficulty of an exercise and increase your exertion is very easy to do. Resistance training adds density to those important bones. A great way to use the stability ball is during push ups:
-Begin by gently getting on your knees in front of the ball, then drape your body over the ball
-Roll yourself forward, then “walk” yourself forward using your hands until you are in a push up position with your legs on the ball.
-Your body should be straight.
-Use your core muscles to stabilize you and maintain a steady position on the ball.
-Dip and push up as you would during a regular push up. Do 10 reps if possible.
-Once reps are completed, “walk” yourself on your hands backwards until you are back safely in your start position, draped over the ball.

There’s a yoga quote, “You’re as young as your spine is supple.” And when you think about it, your back is involved in just about everything that you do. If something goes wrong with your back, you’re pretty much completely out of commission until it has healed. Here’s one flexibility exercise that is quite basic and relaxing: get gently on your knees and drape yourself forward over the ball. You can “hug” the ball for added stretch. You can hang out there in a meditative stretch for some time. There are many more flexibility exercises that include the stability ball, but I believe this one in particular is an important one to have in your arsenal.

Balance is somewhat of an investment in your fitness future. As we age, our balance declines. Working on this aspect of fitness now is very important in maintaining a well-rounded fitness program for our golden years. With good balance in play, as we’re older-we’re less likely to fall, which is something that dramatically threatens the wellbeing of our older population. It’s well worth it to stay balanced in life. And I do mean that metaphorically and literally! A great balance exercise with the stability ball:
-Stand with stability ball on the floor about arm’s length away from your body
-Bend forward so that both hands are on the ball and your legs are straight
-Extend your left leg straight back
-Now turn your body so that you are in a modified ‘triangle pose’-your right hand is supporting you on the ball
-Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the other side

Let us know if and how you incorporate the stability ball into your fitness routines. We’d love to hear from you!