In the past several years, stability balls, also known as fitness balls, have become wildly popular. There are many good reasons for this. If used correctly, a stability ball can deliver the amazing result of a much stronger core.
What are Core Muscles?
If you’re like most people, you’ve heard the term “core muscles” being thrown around in casual conversation as well as in the media. But, do you know what core muscles are? Jeff Kuhland, author of Do You Know What Your Core Really Is and What It Does, defines a person’s “core” as “a complex series of muscles, extending far beyond your abs, including everything besides your arms and legs. It is incorporated in almost every movement of the human body.”
There Is More to the Core Than Most People Know
Now that you have an idea of what your core is, let’s define what it does. A strong and flexible core supports a healthy back, can reduce pain, improves posture, increases balance/reduces the risk of falling, and makes daily activities (such as bending, stooping, carrying, etc.) easier. Truly, there is much more to the core than most people know.
A Fitness Ball Can Work Wonders for Core Muscles
It is the rare individual who does not want all the benefits of a strong core. If you’re ready to get your core in great shape, you may want to consider using a stability (fitness) ball. A stability ball is an inexpensive workout accessory that, if used correctly, can work wonders for core muscles.
You may already use a fitness ball, but are you using it in the right ways? Ask yourself these questions to find out:
— Am I maintaining proper form with each exercise? – No matter what exercises you are performing on your stability ball, you should always maintain proper form. Depending on the exercise, this often means using your abdominal muscles (not your back muscles) to execute movements. Click here to learn more about maintaining good form when working out with a fitness ball.
— Does my stability ball feel awkward to use? – Did you know that fitness balls come in various sizes? This is to ensure ease of use. People who are short should probably not use the largest stability ball, and vice versa for tall individuals. Generally, people who are 4’11” to 5’4″ should opt for a 55-centimeter ball. Those who are 5’4″ to 5’11” should choose one that is 65 centimeters, and individuals taller than 5’11” should consider a 75-centimenter fitness ball.
— Is my core getting stronger? – When you regularly, effectively exercise your core, it should get stronger. This may result in less back pain and more ease in performing daily tasks. If your core isn’t getting any stronger, or is even weakening, talk to a physiotherapist about how to properly use a stability ball.
When in Doubt, Ask a Physiotherapist
If you are having trouble building your core or motivating yourself to start a strengthening program, you may need the support of a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists can assess your specific core muscles and determine the best course of action for getting them strong, balanced and flexible. Reach out to a physiotherapist near you today.