Fitness That Fits You
The exercise ball – also known as the Swiss ball, physio ball, stability ball or balance ball – is used to promote good proprioception (body awareness feedback) and increase your core strength (muscles of the abdomen, pelvis and back). A variety of exercises can be done using the ball that will also strengthen your arms and legs. Many different positions are used besides just sitting on the ball. An exercise may require you to lie on top of the ball, put your feet on the ball, or put the ball behind you against the wall, among others. Exercises can be modified and adapted to accommodate your arthritis; they can also be made easier or more difficult according to your fitness level.
Specific modifications will depend on your joints affected, but you may consider the following.
- Exercises that require you to bear weight on your hands can be modified by using push-up handles or by bearing weight on your forearms.
- Wraps or braces can be worn on your affected joints for support.
- Choose the correct size ball. When you sit on the ball with your feet flat on the ground, your hips and knees should be at a 90-degree angle with your thighs parallel to the floor.
- Keep the right amount of air in the ball. A softer ball will make the exercise too easy and less effective. Too much air in the ball will make balancing too difficult.
- At first, you may need someone to hold the ball steady for you, or you may use a ball base.
- Add more challenging exercises and more reps as you are able.
This is general exercise ball information. Get personalized results, with specific modifications and tips customized to your problem joints and level of fitness.