For individuals looking for better posture and increased
flexibility and strength, nothing could be easier than
training with a Swiss ball.

WHAT IS A SWISS BALL?

The Swiss ball, also called the Stability ball, Exercise
ball, Flexibility ball or other names, is a large,
inflated, rubber ball. The Swiss ball was originally
created in Italy in the 1960’s and provides instability or
resistance which requires the user to rely on ‘core’
muscles to retain balance – thus improving strength and
flexibility of those muscles.

A Swiss doctor studied its use in a clinical setting by
incorporating the ball in rehabilitation therapy. While it
is still used in physiotherapy it has also become known in
the general fitness world as an adaptable and enjoyable
addition to routines building strength, flexibility and
proper posture.

WHO CAN USE THE SWISS BALL?

Because the Swiss ball is so easy to use and enjoyable, it
is able to be used by almost everyone, young or old.
However, because the Swiss ball is designed to create
instability (thus forcing the body’s own muscles to be
employed) there is a need for caution. The elderly,
injured, pregnant women or anyone otherwise subject to a
lack of stability or increased risk of falling, should not
use the Swiss ball without personal instruction and care.

When choosing a Swiss ball it is important to choose the
size appropriate to your height as well as the intended
use. Determine what technique you plan to use the Swiss
ball for before purchasing your own ball.

HOW DO YOU USE A SWISS BALL?

If you are concerned about lower back pain or posture you
can use the Swiss ball as an alternative to a regular
chair. Sedentary workers find that certain muscles in the
back become weak over time and are easily strained. Sitting
on the Swiss ball will improve your ‘core strength’ by
forcing the unused muscles to maintain balance.

There are many videos and books as well as group classes
that teach routines targeting different muscle groups. The
Swiss ball has been used in therapy as well as for
professional athletes so you are sure to find a method
suitable for your experience and needs.

While it is possible to use the Swiss ball on your own at
home or the office (and is recommended as an easy way to
fit in your workout) it is helpful to have professional
instruction when learning to use the ball correctly. Having
someone guide you into proper position will show you what
the proper alignment feels like.

Performing warm up exercises is also recommended before
beginning a Swiss ball routine. Using the Swiss ball
properly will increase the benefits you receive with
regular use. No matter what your fitness level, try it out
and see how much fun the Swiss ball can be!

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