Folks often tell me “I can’t sit on an exercise ball – it hurts my back- it’s not good for me”. When I probe a little bit, I usually find out they tried an exercise ball for the first time ALL DAY LONG!
Would you decide to try lifting weights for 8 hours or the eliptical for 8 hours? Did you double your mileage in biking or running in one week? Sitting on an exercise ball IS a workout! And just like any workout should be incorporated gradually in small doses at first. The exercise ball requires strong back muscles to support the spine and posture…unfortunately this is an area most of us are lacking in. We spend too much time sprawled on a couch or slumped in front of a desk- those muscles are just not actively used or strengthened. So if you have tried the exercise ball before and failed… follow these tips and give it one more try!
1. Wear flat shoes … no cute heels ladies!
2. Start off with just 30 minutes a day- if this still irritates your back cut down to 15 minutes.
3. Sit up straight with your feet firmly planted on the floor
4. Focus on pulling your belly button in and towards your spine
5. Do not lean on a desk or table- this is a workout after all so no cheating 🙂
After sitting on the exercise ball for 30 minutes a day for one week (and you may choose to take a day off at some point in the week) – it may be time for you to try adding a few more minutes. But remember – you didn’t go from running 1 mile to running 4 miles in one week either! Add time at 10 to 15 minute increments. And if you start to feel discomfort in your low back…scale back… those are your muscles letting you know they are working hard and maybe a bit too hard at the moment.
I hope you have a ball with your exercise ball building a strong back and enviable posture!