An Exercise Ball – My Best Discovery Ever?
Not quite, but almost. Other than my first iPod, which I got back in 2005 or so, I’m pretty sure the exercise ball is my 2nd best discovery ever.
I had never used an exercise ball before coming to Green Mountain. I saw people in my office sitting on them and I knew gym-going folks used them for something, but wasn’t quite sure what. Something about getting better abs.
When I got to Green Mountain as a participant, the exercise ball made an appearance in many fitness classes. We used it for bicep presses in “Morning Momentum” and in “Balance Basics.” We sometimes used it for lower-body strength classes. Then there were classes solely based on using an exercise ball – “Cardio on the FitBall®”and “PowerBall.” (Watch our video on how to choose the right FitBall).
The fitness instructors emphasized that women who experienced knee or hip problems could even do some of classes entirely on the exercise ball if they needed to – like low-impact aerobics.
The Gift that Keeps on Giving
It made a huge difference for many women. For those who just assumed they couldn’t do a class because it would hurt or would be too difficult, they were encouraged to take a seat on the ball and focus on their upper body. Suddenly, a whole new world opened up to them. They could do classes they thought were never possible.
But the best use I found for the ball was stretching. I have chronic lower back pain, and LynnAnn (Green Mountain’s senior fitness specialist) showed me how to lay stomach-down on the ball and let my head and arms hang over the front. It was the best lower-back stretch I could have imagined – better relief than any massage or any amount of ibuprofen. I immediately had to have one.
Now that I have my own, I use it often for stretching my back. I try to sit on it when I watch TV occasionally and do upper body strength moves (hey, it’s better than just laying on the couch, right?). Sometimes I just like to bounce on it like a kid.
So, if your family is asking you what you what you want for the holidays this year, remember an exercise ball is one of those gifts that keeps on giving.
(If you want to make it a package deal, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to also order our “Cardio on the FitBall” DVD).