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How to Buy an Exercise Ball

If you are just beginning the journey into exercise ball exercises you need to know how to buy an exercise ball and how to choose a size appropriate for your goals.

When you have your own exercise ball and your own program of free core exercises its like having your own personal trainer at home.

When choosing an exercise ball I recommend getting one that is used in gyms and physical therapy clinics.  They are generally more durable and can withstand greater weights. If you are carrying some extra weight or if you decide to use free weights with the ball it's worth the peace of mind and doesn't necessarily cost any more than one you might pick up at a retail outlet. A good quality exercise ball will say "burst resistant" or "slow release", so if it does puncture, the air will be let our slowly.  

The exercise ball is the one piece of equipment that will add diversity to your routine,  functional training, and takes up very little room. Having your own stability ball to use with this seemingly unlimited supply of free exercise ball exercises will put you well on your way to your fitness goals.

Some manufacturers claim to have designs that if punctured will let air out slowly called "slow release balls" rather than bursting. Always check the instructions that come with your ball so as to avoid exceeding its weight restriction. Serious injury can result if used improperly.

How you choose an exercise ball will depend on what exercises you plan on doing:

  1. The size you choose may or may not be important. If you plan on doing a lot of exercises sitting on the ball, the ideal size will allow you to sit with hips and knees at 90 degrees, chest up, both feet flat on the floor, and head centred over the shoulders. If you are just beginning with the exercise ball, however, you may want one a little larger. That way you can keep it a little soft to make your exercises easier. Here's a general guide on how to choose your exercise ball size.
  2. The thickness of the rubber will vary depending on where you get your ball from. You will find that physical therapy clinics and gyms will have access to sturdier ball that you may find in a discount store. If you plan on doing any high impact work, exercises with dumbbells or bands, or if you are on the heavier side, a little extra money for a burst resistant ball is worth the peace of mind that you won't go tumbling if something leaks.
  3. If you want a really firm ball, get one on the smaller side so you can blow it up fully. On the other hand if you want to start easy, get a bigger ball and don't blow it up all the way. The extra surface contact with the floor will make the exercise ball exercises easier.
  4. Ideally, if you can afford it, get more than one to keep your routine interesting and varying in intensity.
  5. I wouldn't advise picking one up at a yard sale because you don't know how old it is or how it was treated. Most plastics start to degrade with age and temperature changes.
  6. Colour is an individual choice. Find something that complements your decor. On the other hand if it blends into the background you may forget it's there.
There are so many places selling exercise balls that prices have become very competitive. You should be able to pick up a good quality burst resistant exercise ball from any retailer at a reasonable price or your physical therapist can probably get a good deal on one as well.

                       Exercise balls at Amazon.com

Exercise balls