Kilbourne conducted an experiment last year with college students who used exercise balls as chairs and reported their results earlier this year. The study overwhelmingly indicated a preference for ball chairs.
"Some people initially think, 'Are you crazy?' " said Witt, a former elementary school teacher in Colorado who started her company after seeing improvements in students who used exercise balls as chairs. She said she soon discovered physical benefits as well as others.
I am sure many of you have either seen or used an exercise ball before, whether at your child’s therapy appointment or at your own session at the gym! Exercise balls are a simple and easy piece of “equipment” for you and your child to use at home in a variety of ways. Exercise balls help to strengthen the muscles; and increase endurance, motor planning, body awareness, and postural control. Exercise balls come in multiple colors and sizes, and really help to challenge balance and multi-tasking of the whole body.
I used an exercise ball chair for a while, and I’d say it can be effective if you’re mindful of your posture while using it. Personally, it caused me to sit up straight and engage my back muscles for a few days, then I found myself creating entirely new forms of bad posture as I began to compensate.
Use comfort as your guide.
The bigger the ball the heavier it is, so if your are using it for upper extremity workouts, keep that in mind. If you lack shoulder strength or scapular stability you may want to use a smaller ball for exercises such as the isometric shoulder exercise
hold-up 1 or
hold-up 2, or the dynamic exercises
You may find that one brand of 55 cm ball may be bigger than a 55 cm ball of another brand. Try different sizes of balls for different exercises and be prepared to return a ball you bought because it didn't meet your needs. There are no hard and fast rules. Using different size balls will allow you more flexibility and variation with your exercise ball training.
We recommend beginning your program with a softer ball if you've never used an exercise ball before. The softer ball will provide greater contact with the floor and therefore more stability while doing the exercises. The firmer the ball, the more difficult you will find it to stabilize yourself on the ball. The more inflated the ball is, the less contact area there is with the floor, the more easily the ball will roll, and the more skill is required to maintain balance on the exercise ball.
Be sure to read the exercise ball precautions before beginning your workout program.