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List: Posted: 09/06/11
Invented in 1963 by Aquilino Cosani, the Fitness Ball became popular for treating newborns. They were soft and large and were a gentle way to build muscles of babies. Then in Switzerland, the fitness ball was used for physical therapy, helping injured victims rebuild muscles and balance. America caught on to the trend and before long, the fitness ball (then called Swiss balls) was used for exercise, building core muscles like the back and stomach.
How does a fitness ball work? It's simple actually. A Fitness Ball is soft and versatile piece of exercise equipment that promotes muscle growth by putting your body out of balance. When leaning, sitting, or laying on one, you need to constantly adjust yourself to remain stabilized, which engages a variety of muscles in your body. The main stabilizer muscles used when exercising on a fitness ball are your back and abdominal muscles. So, just by sitting on one you can get fit.
Office chairs on the other hand are designed for comfort. Comfort means not employing any of your muscles, so when working, you are exercising as little as possible. However, if you replace your office chair with a fitness ball, you will constantly be balancing and using those stabilizer muscles. Even while typing, your abs, back, and even butt will work and slowly become toned.
Although exchanging your office chair with a fitness ball will help build your stabilizer muscles, you should do so with caution. If you use the fitness ball too long, your back can actually suffer due to poor posture. Imagine trying to work out for 6 hours a day - eventually you will get tired and start to lose proper form. Any exercise done with bad form can result in injury, and that is something you want to avoid, especially with your back.
To get maximum results, try replacing your office chair with a fitness ball for 30 minutes at a time throughout the day. Once you feel that you are slouching or sitting with poor posture, you should switch back to your normal chair.
If you do this a couple times a week, you will start to feel a huge difference. Your standing posture will improve as well as your stomach muscles. Since you are constantly using your muscles, you are also burning calories. So replacing your office chair with a fitness ball is a great way to help your weight loss program without much effort.
Besides replacing your chair, a fitness ball is a great way to build muscles during your regular exercise regime. Try doing crunches while sitting on one and feel your entire core stomach muscles work. This will give you a well rounded workout especially on those hard to hit spots like your obliques.
I like to lay back side down and use small weights to build my arms and chest. Another great workout I like to use with my fitness ball is to get into push up position and prop my feet on the ball. This is especially good for your entire upper body. The fitness ball forces you to balance your lower body and also elevates your legs, putting more weight on your arms.
So, unlike a regular push up, a fitness ball push up builds your entire chest, biceps, triceps, forearms, and back muscles. Your legs get a bit of a workout too by having to maintain balance on the fitness ball too.
So, if you want to work out at work, a fitness ball is the way to go!
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