Obviously I’m talking about the bouncy variety you find in the gym. The Stability Ball goes by many names, such as the Swiss, Exercise, Gymnastic, Flexi or Fitball. But whatever we call it, one thing is for sure; it’s fun, versatile, amazingly effective and facilitates a workout that is so enjoyable that we could almost forget you are exercising! Even those people that are normally reluctant to exercise will become hooked on this comfortable way of achieving great results.
So why is the ball so good for us; here are some of the benefits:
· The Stability Ball can be used in an extraordinary range of exercises that are suitable for all levels of fitness, from the unfit and overweight to sports men and women.
· The Stability Ball has the unique quality of allowing a huge range of movement that you simply cannot achieve on the floor.
· Working with the ball allows you to concentrate on every muscle group, with the bonus that your postural muscles are constantly challenged. You can then target specific areas for firming and shaping. Enabling you to achieve fantastic toning results for a leaner more youthful body.
· Using the ball will improve your posture and strengthen your abdominals and back muscles. This enhances your overall core strength by continually training the deep stabilizing muscles that support your lower back.
· Also when your posture is improved, it gives the illusion of making you appear taller and thinner. Think of it as the difference between a dancer and a bodybuilder – you will have the grace and poise of a dancer.
· Greater flexibility is a major benefit. When particular muscles are stretched during an exercise, other muscles (stabilisers) have to work hard to ancho you on the ball. You can also achieve exercise positions unique to the ball that gives a natural stretch to the spine and allow it to relax.
· The cushioning support provided by the ball enables you to perform exercise variations that you may not have been able to attempt before, due to discomfort or underlying weakness.
· Training your body to respond quickly to ‘imbalance’ as we do by just alone sitting on the ball is a skill that could, at some time in your life, save you from a potentially nasty fall.
· The fitness training benefits of using the ball were originally recognised when it was used for treating patients with orthopaedic and neuromuscular disorders and was also (and still is) used for preparing women for childbirth. Thankfully it is now widely acknowledged as a unique tool for developing strength, increasing flexibility, improving balance, postural awareness and enhancing co-ordination.