Fitness fads come and go, but look around any gym and you'll see at least one big, inflatable rubber ball. The stability ball — also known as the balance ball, physio ball or Swiss ball — made the transition from physical therapy offices to gyms in the early '90s and has stuck around as a proven exercise tool. To read the rest of this story, click here.
Matt Bansch, the director of the Bolger FitnessCenter at the Ridgewood YMCA and YWCA of Bergen County, offers these tips for using a stability ball:
- Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
- Choose the correct size ball for your height: If you’re shorter than 5 feet, use a 45-cm ball; from 5- to 5-foot-6, use a 55-cm ball; from 5-foot-7 to 6-foot-1, use a 65-cm ball; from 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-8, use a 75-cm ball.
- When you are in a seated position, your hips and knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle; your knee to ankle should form a 90-degree angle as well. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor.
- Always warm up before engaging in stability ball exercises or any other type of demanding physical activity.
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart for increased stability. After a few weeks, try moving your feet closer together to make it harder to balance.
- Maintaining proper posture is important, especially for ball exercises. Keep your back straight and abs engaged, and prevent your elbows and knees from locking while performing each exercise.
- Focus on breathing properly.
For a free pass to a BALListic class at the Ridgewood YMCA and YWCA of Bergen County, call Carol Livingstone at 201-444-5600, ext. 330, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.