No doubt you’ve heard of the stability ball. It can be a great addition to your workout. In fact, the Mayo Clinic says that using a firmly inflated stability ball can help you incorporate fitness into your daily routine.
And it may sound ironic, but the instability of a stability ball is what helps to strengthen core muscles, helping to support posture, balance and coordination. For example, performing certain exercises, such as crunches, on a stability ball helps you work more muscle fibers than doing those same exercises on the floor. Why? More muscle fibers are activated to maintain balance and control on the stability ball’s unstable surface.
Even using the stability ball as an office chair—a recent and growing trend—provides benefits, including helping you to build and work your core muscles as you do your work. An added benefit of using a stability ball as your work chair of choice is that those who sit on stability balls burn approximately 4.1 times more calories per hour than those sitting in a regular office chair. Over time, that adds up!
Here are some basic tips to consider before adding the stability ball to your workout::
- When choosing a stability ball, be sure to choose one right for your height. If you are 5’ or under, select a 45cm ball; if you are 5’1” to 5’7”, then choose a 55cm ball. For those 5’8” and up, go for a 65cm ball.
- You’ll want to inflate the ball enough so that when sitting on it with your feet on the floor, your knees are even with—or just above—hip level.
- If you want a more difficult workout, then the firmer the ball, the better—making for more challenging exercises, including forms of jumping jacks and cardio workouts on the ball.
- Generally, you can expect to pay approximately $15.95 for a stability ball, depending on size. Additionally, hand and foot pumps are available for around $7.95.
What are you waiting for? Get “on the ball” with a stability ball!
In order to avoid risk of injury, please seek advice directly from your physician, especially if you have existing medical issues, before beginning any exercise or nutritional program. Also, be sure to stretch after exercise to avoid muscle and joint tightness.