The Pros and Cons of Exercising on the Stability Ball

By: Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
myFitterU.com

Most people dream of getting into shape, losing weight, and exercising more. It can mean signing up at local gyms. However, many fitness enthusiasts prefer to purchase home fitness equipment that can be effective for them. They can take the benefits of a total workout while at homes and within flexible times. 

One of the best options to consider is buying a stability ball. It is the time for you to experience a unique workout at home. There are various reasons why this equipment has become very popular. In fact, it is utilized by most physical therapists to treat their patients from back pains.

A stability ball is made of elastic rubber. It is utilized in exercise and physical therapy. There are various names for a stability ball such as exercise ball, Pilate's ball, gym ball, therapy ball, balance ball, body ball, yoga ball, sports ball, and Swiss ball.

The major benefit of using the ball is enabling the body to respond to the ball's instability while keeping the balance and engaging more muscles as well. Keep in mind that the muscles are strengthened upon struggling to maintain the balance. The core muscles of the body, back muscles, and abdominal muscles are the target of the fitness ball programs of exercises.

Exercises done on a fitness ball will never bore you. In fact it can challenge your stamina, patience, perseverance and, self-discipline. This is the true form of exercising, working the entire core muscles to achieve the best results.

A stability ball is effective because of its rounded shape. It can create instability to induce your core body muscles to work. Compared to floor crunching, the muscles that are only working are the upper abs, but when you do the crunching on a fitness ball, the core muscles including abs muscles, back muscles, pelvic muscles, and hip muscles are working together in helping you stay on the ball.

Try doing a few pushups using a fitness ball, your hands on the floor and your feet on the fitness ball or vice versa. This exercise gives more stability when the feet are spread apart and tougher when the feet are put closely together.

Although it provides many advantages, there are also some pitfalls especially if overused. Strength coaches revealed that it can cause injury and approximately 70 percent of fitness ball exercises are considered worthless.  Nevertheless, it is still prescribed by some therapists in treating patients with back pain.

Incorporating a fitness ball in your fitness program can mean surpassing all the difficult levels involved during the exercise. Each requires support from your stomach muscles and back to help in keeping the trunk muscles firm. More often, a fitness ball is good for people who have lower back pain. Other uses include developing overall strength and control of the body's core muscles, increasing the strength of back and abdominal muscles, learning proper posture and body mechanics when lifting objects, and increasing mobility of the lower back.

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