After an 18-month hiatus in Los Angeles, I moved back to New York, ready for a new chapter in a new borough and apartment. With the move back to the Concrete Jungle, my daily steps have increased exponentially compared to life in my car in LA.
It was the perfect way to motivate me back into fitness. But as the Delta variant looms and more and more people I know come down with the virus, I am choosing to get my steps, or sweat on, indoors instead. Enter: the exercise ball.
I purchased an exercise ball a few weeks ago and not to sound dramatic, but it’s been life changing. These small things are dynamic, active and bring great energy to a rather mundane workout. The thing I like about the balls is they come in all types of sizes and materials. Most are incredibly lightweight and inflate easily. But the biggest benefit is what it’s done for my core, an area I’ve never been strong in. Still not convinced? Let’s dive deeper.
What is an exercise ball?
Also known as a stability ball, exercise balls are great as an ergonomic office chair (that will force you to your optimal posture) and great for strong abs. It’s perfect for flexibility, balance, strength and stability.
What sizes are available?
The great thing is they come in five different sizes, based on your height, ranging from 40 to 85 cm. To decide what height works best, sit on the ball and make sure your feet are plated to the ground. If you can’t touch the floor, size down. The goal is to have your knees level or slightly lower than your pelvis. Meaning, if your knees are too high, size up!
What workouts are best?
Exercise balls are a great multifunctional tool for every part of the body. Some of my favorite (and most effective) workouts are below.
Knee tucks: Full warning, these are hard. In a plank position, put feet on the ball and roll it back and forth, crunching at the core.
Squat: Hold ball over your head for a harder squat.
Hamstring curls: Lie on the floor and place heels and calves on the ball. Then bend your knee to pull the ball close to you.
V sit ups: Put feet on the ball with a neutral spine and do a sit up.
I personally enjoy using the ball nightly for a stretch. I simply lie face down on the ball and let my head hang. This move allows my back to relax and open up — removing any stress and tension from the day.
Are there any risks?
I will say, the ball does have a tendency to roll every once in a while. If you find it rolling a lot, you might want to do more basic moves before moving to the exercises, then build from there.
Exercise balls are fun, affordable and a dynamic tool to have in your apartment. Just be mindful when using as a beginner. You can check out some of the best exercise balls on the market courtesy of Insider.
For more workout content, read about bad habits to avoid while exercising at home and why you should incorporate Pilates and yoga into your workout routine.
Photo via Grokker