How to Start an Exercise Ball Program

exercise ball

Many treatment programs for low back pain incorporate use of an exercise ball to strengthen the core muscles in the stomach and back that support the spine. Exercise ball exercises clearly work and have been adopted in non-rehabilitation exercise programs by athletes and fitness buffs looking to cross-train and strengthen their core muscles. Other terms for exercise ball are stability ball and fitness ball.

For many, however, simply getting started using an exercise ball is a challenge. This article provides several simple steps to get familiar with an exercise ball and benefit from using it on a regular basis. Once one has developed a comfort level with the following activities, more sophisticated exercises can be incorporated into the exercise ball program.

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Sitting on an Exercise Ball

The act of just sitting on an exercise ball is active and requires the core body muscles to work to hold the body upright and balanced on the ball. Until sitting on the exercise ball feels comfortable, it is often a good idea to not have the ball fully inflated - a slightly deflated exercise ball is more stable.

  • Sit in the center of the ball with both feet firmly on the ground about shoulder width apart. If this is difficult, then use a wider stance.
  • The knees should be in line over the ankles.
  • Shoulders should be in line over the body (not hunching forward) and the head squarely over the neck (not leaning forward).

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One can easily sit on the exercise ball while working at a desk or computer workstation and use it as an alternative to a traditional office chair. Others prefer to sit on it while watching television. Whatever the use, sitting on an exercise ball at some point of the day is helpful to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine.

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