The stability ball is a great piece of equipment that any exercise facility should not be without  Stability balls can be for use at a gym as well as for home use. Even without any extra equipment, you can have a full body workout with just a ball, yourself and a spacious, safe area to exercise in. Balls can be used for stretching as well as strengthening exercises. Some of the benefits of using the stability ball include increase in balance, strength, postural improvements and core stability.

Many common exercises can be adopted to the ball to give you a more challenging and efficient work out. For example a traditional push up on the floor versus a push up with your feet on the ball: both are great exercises but the ball version challenges your balance and stability...anytime your balance is challenged, your core (mid-section and torso muscles including your deeper abdominal muscles) works to maintain your balance. So why not recruit more muscle work for the same exercise? Ball exercises are challenging, fun and add some variety to exercise routines.

When choosing a ball, make sure you buy high quality and size the ball correctly to your height. To know if a ball is the right size for you check the following: sit on top of the inflated ball and check to see if (1) your upper legs are parallel to the floor and (2) your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. If both are correct, then this will be the right size ball for you.

Talk to an exercise specialist or fitness trainer to ensure that you have the right size ball and get instruction on proper exercise form. It is best to have a personal exercise program that is suited to your needs and abilities. Don’t forget to read all the safety instructions with your ball and warm up before doing any strength or stretching exercises.

For more information on ball exercises check out “The Great Body Ball Handbook” Written by: Michael Jespersen and Andre Noel Potvin. This is an informative book with step by step instruction and photographs.

About the Author

Fitness Tips as published weekly in the PG Xpress Fit for lifecolumn

M. Gregor, B.A.

Chief Instructor and Fitness Trainer

Shadow Martial Arts: HapKiDo,

Self Defense and Cross Training

Martial Arts instruction for all ages.

185 Dominion Street. Call: 564-4025