Many gym instructors and fitness experts recommend using an exercise ball to increase core strength and balance. But you need an exercise ball of the right size, in order to derive maximum benefits. This story has provided some guidelines to help you choose the right exercise ball.
Did You Know? Stability balls or Swiss balls originated in Italy during the 1960s and were first used in rehabilitative exercises by Dr Susanne Klein-Vogelbach in Switzerland.
Exercising with a stability ball is an inexpensive and enjoyable way to improve your balance, flexibility, fitness, and muscular strength. Using an exercise ball will improve your posture as well as strengthen your abdominal and back muscles.
Since the benefits of an exercise ball are apparent, you may want to use it right away, but that does not mean you just step into a store, buy one, and start using it the next day. It is important to choose the size that is appropriate for you. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind while selecting a proper exercise ball.
Selecting the right size
Exercise balls are available in varying sizes, and the right size depends on your height. The correct posture while sitting on a ball is when your knees and hips are at right angles, and your thighs are parallel to the ground. Here is the appropriate ball size in cm. This is the max diameter of the ball when inflated completely.
Another point to remember, if you are on the heavier side of your ideal weight, choose a ball one level larger than the appropriate size.
Height in inches
Dia of Ball in cm
less than 58
59 - 65
66 - 72
73 - 77
Also, you may need a larger ball if you use the ball only as a chair, or for stretching, or have back problems.
Choose a ball that is burst-proof
Select a ball which will not burst easily. If you intend to use the exercise ball in a home or office setting, it should not puncture easily if it bumps into sharp corners or edges of the furniture. Also, if you plan to use the ball while lifting weights, make sure that you feel comfortable while lifting the extra pounds.
Texture of the exercise ball
If you plan to use it for exercising, choose an exercise ball with a rough or spiky texture. This will prevent the ball from rolling, and will not slip even if you are sweaty.
However, if you intend to use it as a chair, on a carpeted floor, then go for a smoother one. You may also want to choose a color you like as its appearance will be more appealing, and hence, are likely to use it more frequently.
Maintenance of the ball
Generally, exercise or stability balls are fairly durable, and with proper care, they can last a long time. Given below are a few tips that can increase the life of the ball.
» Follow the manufacturer's instructions for inflating the ball, and keep checking it regularly. Use it on a clean, smooth surface (floor or carpet) that is free of any sharp, pointed objects or debris that can puncture the bal.
» Regular cleaning of the ball is necessary for comfort, hygiene, and health. You may do so with plain or mild soapy water. Avoid using any chemicals or harsh cleaners which may damage the surface of the ball.
» It can be stored in special racks, on stackers, or in a net suspended from the wall or ceiling to save storage space.
Using the exercise ball safely and getting used to it is very important. Since, it can be used for a full body workout right in the comfort of your home, selecting the right one becomes all the more vital.