by Tricia Goss
Working out with an exercise ball is excellent for core training -- working out the muscles of the midsection. Strong core muscles give you better balance, overall body strength and even act as an internal girdle of sorts, providing a trimmer, shapelier figure. Learn how using an exercise ball can even improve your posture, back health and more when used properly.
Select the right exercise ball. One of the most important tips on using an exercise ball for fitness and exercise is to select the right one for you. The first factor to take into account is your height. A 22-inch exercise ball is suitable for most people from five feet tall to five feet, five inches. For every five-inch increment, go up four inches in the size of the exercise ball. Most standard exercise balls will safely accommodate people weighing up to 250 pounds. If you weigh more than 250 pounds, or if you plan on using an exercise ball daily, select a higher quality, burst-resistant ball to ensure your safety and the durability of the exercise ball.
Inflate the exercise ball properly. An over-inflated exercise ball will cause you to work too hard, increasing your chances of injury. It is also much more likely for an over-inflated exercise ball to burst or tear. On the other hand, an under-inflated exercise ball will not provide a challenging workout. Inflate your exercise ball using a special ball pump. You can also find cone-shaped tips that will allow you to inflate an exercise ball with an electric pump or compressor. To determine whether your exercise ball is correctly inflated, sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Your legs should form a 90-degree angle. Press your forefinger into the ball. You should be able to make a two-inch depression in the ball if it is inflated properly.
Using an exercise ball as a chair. Consider replacing your desk chair with an exercise ball. This can help you improve your balance and burn up to 350 calories every day. You will have to readjust your position throughout the day, which can lessen the risk of back problems caused by remaining in the same seated position for extended periods. Make sure that you have sufficient space and traction to prevent the ball from rolling out from under you. The moving you will be required to do burns calories, increases your circulation and builds those valuable core muscles. These aspects make using an exercise ball while doing what you normally do an efficient, affordable way to improve your health.