Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Discover Your Inner Core

Greetings LIFEers! Today several members of our LIFE class were really on the ball; stability ball that is. We were joined by Lisa Brashier, Professor of Kinesiology here at Cy-Fair College, and she taught us all about balance balls and how to use them to strengthen our core muscles (and provide entertainment for those not on the ball).

Lets go through some FAQs.

1) What size ball should I use?
Height Ball Size
4'11 - 5'3 55 cm
5'2 - 5'11 65 cm
5'8 and up 75 cm

2) Is this the only thing I need to exercise?
No, an exercise ball does not replace regular and strenuous exercise, it is a good supplement.

3) What does the ball do?
The ball makes the body constantly change its center of gravity in order to remain balanced and still. Over time, this improves your balance and core muscles.

4) What muscles do I use to sit on the ball?
Abs, glutes, all leg muscles, and postural muscles (neck, upper & middle back, shoulder girdle).

5) Should I replace my desk chair with a ball?
Why not? Begin with 10-15 minutes a day, and gradually work your way up. (Author's note: I tried to go whole-hog and sit on a stability ball all day - it was very hard to do, so seriously, do this gradually). Remember you are sitting on a ball, and not a chair on wheels, so be careful reaching for things. Also, I don't recommend sitting on a stability ball in a skirt. Just sayin'.

6) What exercises can I do on the ball?
Sit and balance
Back raises
Leg raises
Side oblique pulls
Reach & squat
Hamstring & glue bridge
Back bridge
Elbow plank

Your ball should come with an instruction sheet illustrating some of the exercises you can do on it. You can also go online or go to your local gym and ask a trainer for instruction. Check out the pictures from class below, and try using a stability ball the next time you work on the computer or watch TV (gradually).

No comments: