How to Choose the Right Exercise Ball

Exercise balls are popular with personal trainers and physical therapists because they strengthen your core muscles, improve your posture, relieve sore upper back muscles and improve flexibility. Because they're available in several sizes, you need to choose the right one for you. These tips will help.
  1. Stand Beside It

    When you stand beside the exercise ball, it should come to your knees. This height chart can assist you in finding the ball with the correct diameter.
    • Under 5': 45 cm
    • 5'1" to 5'8": 55 cm
    • 5'9" to 6'2": 65 cm
    • 6'3" to 6'7": 75 cm
    • Over 6'8": 85 cm
    In certain instances, you'll want to choose a larger or smaller ball. Select a larger ball if you have long legs, are overweight or have back problems. A smaller ball is a good fit if you have shorter legs or are at the lower end of the height range.

  2. Sit On It

    Sit on the ball before you buy it to make sure it's the right size for you. If your ball is too small, you won't get the full benefit of it because your pelvis and hips will be unaligned. If the ball is too big, you'll be unstable.

    You'll know the ball is the right size if your feet are flat on the floor for even weight distribution. Also, your knees must be slightly lower or level with your pelvis, and your ears, shoulders and pelvis should be aligned vertically.

  3. Stretch Your Arm

    The length of your arm from your shoulder to your fingertip can be another way to be sure you buy the right size ball, especially if you'll be picking it up for aerobic exercises. Use this chart to help you choose wisely.
    • 22" to 25-1/2": 55 cm
    • 26" to 31-1/2": 65 cm
    • 31-3/4" to 35-1/2": 75 cm
  4. Buy Quality

    Most exercise balls range in cost from $20 to $40. While you may be tempted to choose a cheaper brand, keep the quality in mind. You don't want a ball that will lose its elasticity or air quickly.

  5. Keep it Inflated

    As the exercise ball ages, it will naturally deflate. You can also deflate the ball slightly if it's too big. However, deflation lowers its effectiveness. Keep it inflated to the proper pressure to provide the right resistance, balance and stabilization for you.
An exercise ball gives you a variety of benefits and can replace your office chair and sofa or be used during your regular workouts. Choose the correct size as you strengthen your body and get fit. For more information and to ensure an exercise ball is right for you, talk to your doctor.
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