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.

Tags:Boomers Exercise

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Sibyl

Sibyl Adams, Seniority Matters’ featured fitness blogger, has spent three decades in the health and fitness field. She began competing in local body building events in 1980, and by 1983, she was second in her weight class in the International Arm Wresting Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica. Sibyl remained active in the body-building scene for more than a decade, while also teaching aerobics and running races. She retired from body building in 1990, but continued running competitively until 2004, when she suffered an ankle injury.

Today, Sibyl works full-time as a personal fitness trainer and is president of her own company, A Personal Touch Fitness. She is a certified Reiki master, a National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) Certified Trainer, and is currently pursuing a certification in yoga. She enjoys swimming, power-walking and playing with her grandchildren.


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