Fit balls wobble around. This is an important advantage over other equipment. To stay stable you need to activate many large and small muscle groups. When using the ball, sit forward a bit. This engages your core and prevents slumping.
A ball is the right size if, when you sit on it, your hips are slightly higher than your knees. A 65cm ball suits most people.
Use the fit ball on a surface that has some grip such as a carpet or grass.
Here are a few fun ways to get started:
The Squat: Stand near a wall with the ball behind you. Move the ball up and down your back by bending your knees. Repeat this for a few minutes.
Ideally do this routine a few times a day. It will help to keep knees and hips mobile and lubricated. Daily activities such as lawn bowls or walking on tourist trails will be more fun.
Side Stretch: Sit on the ball and lift your right arm up and over your head towards the left side of the room. Return your arm to beside your right thigh then repeat the stretch 10 times. Switch and stretch your left arm over your head and to the right.
You can do this slowly, holding the maximum stretch for around 20 seconds or dynamically. Keep your feet stable as the ball will move sideways as you do this stretch. This is a very pleasant stretch and a good antidote to sitting around.
Chest Press: Sit on the fit ball holding a small free weight in each hand. Slide forward until your head and shoulders are supported on the ball. Use core muscles to raise your body so hips are elevated and the torso is flat like a table top. Keep feet firmly on the floor.
Hold the weights at your shoulders with your elbows bent outwards. Slowly lift the weights above your head then lower them to the starting position. Repeat this 10 to 15 times.
Pass the Ball: Lie down on your back. Raise the fit ball behind your head and touch the floor behind you. Then lift your feet and legs and pass the ball into your feet. Pass it back to your hands. Then place the ball behind your head. Continue passing the ball for 10 repetitions.
Take a break and do another set. It is not necessary to raise your head.
Tristan Hall is an exercise physiologist with Full Circle Wellness. Call 0431 192 284 or visit fullcirclewellness.com.au