During this unprecedented time of social distancing and isolation, many of us find ourselves scrambling to adjust to working out at home or expanding our home workout equipment without breaking the bank. One inexpensive way to add variety and challenge to your workouts is by using a stability ball. Stability balls are found in a variety of sizes, so you need to find one that works best for your body. A good rule of thumb is that when sitting on the ball, your thighs should be parallel to the ground, knees not pointing up or down, but straight ahead. You can find stability balls at pretty much any large chain or sports store as well as online at many places including, of course, Amazon!
Here’s how adding a stability ball to your workouts will benefit you:
1. Core Stability – many exercises that you perform on a bench or in a standing position can be performed on a stability ball. The enhanced benefit of performing these exercises on a ball is that your core is forced to engage more than normal in order to keep your body stable on an unstable surface. It’s a sneaky way to get core work in during exercises that may not be strictly core exercises.
2. Strengthens Your Back – posture during pregnancy and postpartum is very important to keeping your back pain to a minimum. The more you can strengthen you back and postural muscles, the better posture you will have. The balance required to perform your exercises on the ball, strengthen those small muscles along your spine and can greatly help alleviate back pain.
3. Improves Stabilizing Muscles – often during typical workouts, we focus on the major muscle groups – biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings, etc. – and there’s not a whole lot of attention paid to the small stabilizing muscles in the body. Stabilizing muscles are the small muscles all around your larger muscles groups that help stabilize your body throughout all ranges of motion, while your major muscle groups do the main moving. So, even though they aren’t doing the large movements, they are still very important!
4. Better Proprioception – this is kind of a technical term, but it basically just means that you become more aware of your body and how it is moving. As a pregnant or postpartum woman, this is very important, because you lose some of this awareness during this chapter. Using a stability ball in your workouts can help reestablish this mind-body connection.
Jump online and buy yourself a stability ball and start using it to improve and vary your workouts!