Exercising with a Yoga Ball

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on July 31, 2012

The popularity of yoga has spiraled interest in various yoga accessories such as yoga mats, yoga DVD's, yoga books and yoga balls. The yoga ball or exercise ball has a lot of acquired names ranging from Pilates ball, Swiss ball, Swedish ball, body ball, gymnastic ball, physio ball, sports ball, therapy ball, birth ball and Pezzi ball.


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Yoga balls are exercise balls popularly known as balance balls or fitness balls. The exercise balls first came into use in 1963 when such balls, then known as Pezzi balls, were used to treat newborns and infants.

Yoga balls are inflatable and large in size and are mainly used to strengthen core muscles, improve balance and target specific areas such as back, buttocks, abdomen, hips and legs.

Yoga ball exercises such as bridge bird-dog and squats are ideal ways to strengthen core muscles and improve balance. Stability balls are also used in yoga practice. Stability balls are larger in size and are made of elastic plastic polymer. The stability ball allows a wide variety of flexibility and strength building exercises. Stability balls are commonly used in Pilates and yoga. Stability balls are also known as balance balls given that such balls provide a gentle and supportive surface to perform regular exercises. The practitioner also needs to exercise control of the ball to continue the exercise. This helps engage core muscles and help develop and enhance body balance.

Apart from yoga and Pilates, the exercise ball is commonly used for athletic training and physiotherapy. The use of exercise balls, yoga balls or stability balls can cover a wide spectrum of exercise routines. Yoga balls can be used instead of a normal bench for lighter weight lifts. The bench can put additional strain on any specific part of the body while balls are light and conform to the body contours. This provides adequate and gentle support. It is important to note that stability balls can be used only while using light weights. Heavy weights can cause undue pressure and the ball may slip causing harm to the practitioner. Dumbbells are also a preferred choice among Pilates and yoga practitioners because dumbbells can be easily controlled while other bars or weights may not be easy to control. Yoga balls are also finding interest as chairs for home and office use. The use of yoga or exercise balls as chairs also have advantages such as proper spine alignment, improved blood circulation and balance at a very low cost. The ball also requires constant change in sitting position; increased movements in a single day can also increase your calorie expenditure and thereby aid weight loss.

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