One of the most underrated forms of physical therapy equipment is the humble exercise ball. Sometimes referred to as an activity ball or Swiss ball, they are found in a fantastic range of colours and sizes and can easily be pumped or deflated to suit your needs.
What were Exercise Balls designed for?
Despite their “playful” look, exercise balls were originally used in Switzerland (hence the name) in 1963 in treatment plans for infants. Their versatile nature meant that it wasn’t long before exercise balls were a part of many treatment plans for physiotherapists throughout Europe, America and now of course Australia.
What are the benefits of Exercise Balls?
Exercise balls have a number of benefits, and this is why they are a popular piece of physical therapy technology! They are low in cost and easily accessible from a number of shops and online stores. They can be used as an addition to most exercise routines, a tool for rehabilitation or treatment and even as an alternative option to sitting/standing. They also benefit in not just targeting one area or element of fitness, but encouraging multiple factors to interact at once (for example, strength AND balance). Due to the instability of the ball, the body is forced to work harder to stabilise the body and perform various actions while balancing.
How will my physiotherapist use it in my treatment?
Your physiotherapist will use the exercise ball in a number of ways, depending on your particular rehabilitation, your goals and the areas you plan to work on. They may encourage you to balance on the ball to complete sit-ups or push-ups, it could be as simple as sitting on the ball for extended periods whilst performing other movements or even manipulating the ball as a form of resistance.
How can I use it at home?
It can be difficult to know where to start with an exercise ball if you have never used one before, or have only used one under direct instruction from your physiotherapist. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- ALWAYS start by checking in with your physiotherapist to make sure the exercise ball is the right choice for you and your current goals
- Ask your physiotherapist for exercises to complete at home using your exercise ball
- Get some support from knowledgeable people such as personal trainers (both in person or online)
- Don’t push too hard, the key is to build up skill and confidence – they aren’t as easy to use as they look!
Thinking of physiotherapy to live your life to the fullest? Contact the practice for an assessment today on (02) 4721 7798, email email@example.com or book your next appointment online, here.