Do you feel like you should start investing more time for your health and fitness? First off, congratulations! Deciding to pay attention to your physical well-being is the key to ensuring optimal holistic health! Now with that said, there are a plethora of options that you can choose from in going about that. You can become a member at the nearest gym, go to classes two or three times a week, or work out at home.
Whichever of those you opt for, having the right accessories is integral to harnessing the best from the experience. And when it comes to accessories, nothing has been as celebrated as the stability or exercise ball.
What is a Stability or Exercise Ball?
Also called a Swiss ball, a yoga ball, or a Pilates ball, a stability ball or exercise ball is an exercise accessory that helps add intensity and difficulty to any exercise routine. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, this ball is considered ideal for a wide range of exercises, from leg curls to complete body workouts.
There are several types of stability or exercise balls, such as:
- Large exercise balls. As their name denotes, large exercise balls are what you mostly see inside gyms, offices, as well as sports rehabilitation facilities. These balls provide additional core training to users, and are known to make working out extra challenging and, thus, more satisfactory.
- Mini balls. Mini balls are similar to their larger counterparts, except they are not as ideal for full body workouts. However, they are very good for upping the difficulty on a wide range of exercises. Holding a mini ball between your shins, for instance, can help work out the inner thighs better. Additionally, one hand on one of these balls during a pushup can intensify muscle isolation and reflect positively on core workout, as well.
- Medicine balls. Medicine balls are smaller heavy balls, between 8 to 15 pounds, that are mainly used for exercises where additional ball momentum can add to the challenge. These include throwing and catching.
- Weighted toning balls. Weighted toning balls are typically around 1 to 3 pounds heavy, and they are best for muscle toning certain areas of the body.
- Therapy balls. Lastly, there are therapy balls. These are mostly used for therapeutic effects, as well as relaxing the muscles. They are particularly considered to be ideal for alleviating back pain.
Choosing Stability or Exercise Balls According to Your Needs
When it comes to choosing stability or exercise balls, it is important to remember certain factors, including:
Types of Exercise You Plan to Do
Some exercise balls are better suited to certain types of exercise than others. A one-pound mini ball, for instance, will not be as ideal for toning your biceps as, say, a larger and heavier ball. In this regard, it is important to look at the product descriptions so you know exactly what you are purchasing.
Now, there are exercise balls that are great for a general range of exercises. Two of the best of these are the Spri Elite Exercise Balance Ball and the Power Systems Versa Ball. There are also stability balls that can supplement specific kinds of exercises. The ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Balls, as examples, are great for your Pilates class, by dint of their design and size. The Urbanfiit Exercise Ball, on the other hand, is most suited for those who are into yoga.
You can also find exercise balls that can double as home or office accessories; their only difference is that they are considered to be advantageous in improving posture compared to regular furniture. For example, the Isokinetics Tall Boy comes with an adjustable high seat back that makes it functional for both working out and catching up on your office workload.
In addition, there are stability balls that are designed with more than just the ball. The Ur Superior Fitness Ball and the Black Mountain 2000lbs Static Strength Exercise Stability Ball with Pump both come with a pump, so you can configure them according to your desired workout intensity. Another “complete kit” is the Gaiam Total Body KitBall, for that full-body workout.
Size and Other Considerations
In addition to type of exercise, you should also choose exercise balls or stability balls according to your height. Usually, below 30-cm balls are great for people under 4 feet and 6 inches. For those who are taller but are not taller than 5 feet, 45-cm balls are best. 55-cm balls are for those between 5 feet and 5 feet, 5 inches. For those who are taller, choose a 65-cm ball; this size is also good for people who are above six feet tall. Some manufacturers also color-code their exercise balls according to their height prescriptions, so make sure to check the size guide for the best one for you.
If you have balance issues, are overweight, older, or considerably out of shape, it is recommended to start out with a big and less inflated exercise ball. This is because softer balls require lesser balance and stability, which will put less strain on your muscles.
Other Pointers to Remember
It is always wise to consult a healthcare provider before adding any exercise accessory to your regimen, especially if you’re planning to use it at home. In this way, you can make sure that you will not be exposing yourself to fall risks, during any part of the program.
In addition, make sure you start out according to your fitness level. If you have not had previous experience with a stability ball, it is recommended to choose exercise routines that are not too intense. Also remember that the firmer the stability ball, the more balance it will require. Adjust your routines according to your fitness progress.
Finally, have fun! Work hard towards your desired health and fitness goals, but learn to pace the program towards the safe and successful rehabilitation of your body.
- Spri Elite Exercise Balance Ball
- Fitter First DuraBall Pro Ball
- ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Balls
- Urbanfiit Exercise Ball for Fitness, Stability, Balance and Yoga
- Live Infinitely Exercise Ball -Professional Grade Exercise Equipment Anti Burst Tested
- Power Systems Versa Ball
- Gaiam Total Body KitBall
- Isokinetics Tall Boy
- Ur Superior Fitness Ball
- Black Mountain 2000lbs Static Strength Exercise Stability Ball with Pump