Are You On The Ball?
An introduction to therapy balls…
Do you have a big ball in your house? These are fantastic!
As part of our “Heal Yourself At Home” series, please pick up one of these balls! If you are under 5’8” you should get a 55cm ball, if over 5’8” you should get a 65cm ball. They can be found online, in some department stores, and at sporting goods stores.
Not only are they fun for kids, and dogs for an all out raucous time - but they are wonderful for therapy for all parts of your body.
Blow them up so they are firm. Some come with a air pump, or you can bring it to your local gas station and ask them to blow it up firm with their compressed air pump. I have always found them happy to, and it takes just a few minutes!
If you find your ball rolling around your house and want to keep it in place, place it on a pie plate and it will stay where you put it.
One of the first things to do is to get accustomed to being on the ball. Sit on it. If you have any question about your balance, make sure you are holding onto something solid, like a couch, chair, railing or a friend! Spread your legs apart more than shoulder’s width and have your feet flat on the floor. If you have any spine issues, check with your doctor first to see if these exercises would be okay for your condition.
First try gently bouncing up and down on it, keeping your buttocks on the ball at all times. If you are sure you are balanced enough, place you hands on your knees. Get used to how it moves up and down. Even this is very relaxing for your shoulders and back.
Then keeping your feet on the floor in the same position and your buttocks on the ball, use your legs by pushing through your feet to roll the ball slightly forwards and backwards a few inches underneath you to give your body a gentle rocking motion. All movements should be done slowly. By keeping your buttocks in place on the ball at all times you will feel this gentle rocking motion. Pushing the ball backwards creates a gentle increased arch in your back, and
then pushing the ball forward, rounds your back slightly. Alternate between these two and feel the relaxation in the low back.
If you are suffering from a tight back, just these two exercises can feel so good.
Next try shifting you weight side to side, so the ball rolls under your left buttocks, and then your right. Again, keep contact with the ball through your buttocks at all times. This will create a gentle sideways stretch of your spine as you alternate sides.
In the beginning, try each of these exercise for 30 seconds, increasing to 5 minutes each for a gentle beginning to opening up your back, and relax! Enjoy! And “get on the ball!”