The Swiss ball, also known as the stability ball, gymball and physioball, was invented in Italy in 1963 as a toy. Not long after that, two English physical therapists started incorporating its use in pediatric physical therapy. Then, along came Dr. Klein-Vogelbach, a Swiss physical therapist, who began using the ball in orthopedic and back rehab.
In the 1980s American physical therapists brought the knowledge being developed by Klein-Vogelbach back to the United States, hence the name "Swiss ball."In the 1990s the ball moved from the rehab arena and into the fitness world, starting a new craze in core training.
In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, stability balls are large, heavy-duty, inflatable balls that can hold up to 600 pounds. I can't tell you how often I've heard people say, "But I'm too heavy. ...I might break it!" Have no fear. The only way I ever burst a ball was by backing over one in my car!
These ball are comfortable and supportive. They're great for improving core strength (that’s your abs and lower back), as well as flexibility and balance. When the ball is being used correctly, the body uses various muscles for stabilization. . These muscles often aren't challenged using traditional equipment. Because the ball demands balance, you end up challenging your muscles in new ways.
Last, but not least, these balls are great for stretching. I wouldn't be without one.
So how do you know which ball is right for you? It goes by your height:
- 55cm ----- 4'11''-- 5'4''
- 65cm ----- 5'5'' --- 5'11''
- 75cm ----- 6'0'' --- 6'7''
Balls can be purchased at Target, Wallmart, Sports Authority or online at www.balldynamics.com
In a future blog I'll write about ball exercises for abdominals, lower back, legs, balance and stretching.
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