Yoga balls, also known as pilates balls, are often used when doing sports. Initially, this ball was used only among patients who needed post-operative rehabilitation or had joint pain, and rarely in gyms, pilates courses, and training. Now there are yoga balls in many homes and offices. There are many things you can do with yoga balls, especially if you are working with an exercise partner.
The yoga ball chair is a yoga ball seated on a chair frame. By sitting on it, it works and strengthens the internal muscles in your body. The yoga ball chair, which also provides solutions to balance and posture problems, is a product preferred and used by many people today.
What is Yoga Ball and What is it Used For?
Yoga balls used to strengthen our body and form, are large elastic balls used to strengthen our core muscles, especially in the pelvis, abdominals, and back. According to the American Exercise Council, the yoga ball can be used at home and in physiotherapy sessions outside of gyms. The yoga balls we saw in the gyms started their journey as a Swiss ball resistant to puncture by an Italian manufacturer. Over time, it has received various names such as exercise ball, core ball, balance ball, pilates ball, fitness ball, yoga ball, gym ball, therapy ball, sports ball, medicine ball. If you say which of these names is true, they are all true. Since its manufacture, yoga balls have often been used for the following purposes:
- for rehabilitation purposes,
- to increase muscle mass (consider heavy yoga balls)
- to improve the cardiovascular system,
- to strengthen the abdominal, back and waist muscles.
- Nowadays, they are mostly used as fitness equipment in fitness, yoga, and pilates.
The balls come under the name of “Swiss Ball” in 1963 by the Italian plastic manufacturer Aquilino Cosani, with the casting process that increases the resistance to puncture and explosion. These balls, later referred to as “Pezzi balls”, began to be used in a British physiotherapy clinic called Mary Quinton, which operates in Switzerland for the treatment of newborns or slightly older children; Then, they were taken to physical therapy and nerve development treatments by Doctor Susanne Klein-Vogelbach, director of the School of Physical Therapy in Basel, Switzerland. The name of the Swiss Ball started to be mentioned and used by American physical therapists after the treatment successes in Switzerland. Today, this success of physical therapies with ball treatments has become available in exercises and pilates and yoga.
Benefits of Sitting on a Yoga Ball
Have you ever thought about removing the yoga balls from the gymnasiums and incorporating them into everyday life? You should definitely review this idea, especially if you work at the desk during the day. As a result of sitting on the chair for a long time, physical problems such as lower back pain, joint disorders, posture disorders can be seen. Desk jobs can rarely cause permanent problems, nerve compression or tendon inflammation on the musculoskeletal system. In addition to preventing such physical ailments, how about throwing the chair and sitting on the yoga ball to correct your posture and work your muscles?
It is observed that the performance of metabolism decreases by half when the duration of sitting in the chair exceeds 30 minutes during the day. Slow metabolism, which causes fatigue in the short term, may cause lubrication in the long term. Sitting on the yoga ball prevents this situation, sitting on the yoga ball has a kind of effect similar to continuous sports.
Physical Benefits of Sitting on a Yoga Ball
After sitting in the chair all day long, body pains are frequently felt, especially at night. Preferring a yoga ball instead of a chair while working can prevent these pains. When you sit on the yoga ball, you stand upright even if you don’t want it, and you put your feet firmly on the ground. With proper sitting style, body posture is improved and problems such as joint disorders are prevented. In addition, when you sit down, stretching yourself with small movements and applying pressure on your legs from time to time improves your muscles, your abdominal muscles work regularly, and this increases your physical muscle level.
In addition to the abdominal and leg muscles, the back and neck circumference also relaxes due to the upright fit. Your skeletal system and spine, which are upright while sitting on the yoga ball, are narrowing, thus gaining a healthy appearance. The yoga ball exercises the muscles in the center of the abdomen called powerhouse. In addition, internal abdominal muscles, oblique shaping waist, scapula bones, and core area are developing with exercises with a yoga ball.
Psychological Benefits of Sitting on the Yoga Ball
When sitting in the chair, as time goes by, there may be low motivation, focus shifts and distractions. When sitting on the yoga ball, there is no disturbance or focusing problem because it is not possible to sit on the yoga ball very comfortably. It is known that when the person sits on the yoga ball, the brain works faster, the endorphin is secreted and there is a feeling of relaxation along with the breathing pattern.
Every sport done reduces stress and has positive energy with secreted hormones. Practicing yoga and even just sitting on the yoga ball during the day has an impact on human psychology, providing the atmosphere necessary for deep breathing and calming. In a study, a teacher made his students sit on a yoga ball instead of a desk, and after this change, it was observed that the exam success of the students increased considerably. In other words, it was seen that the yoga ball had an impact on the success of the students as well as the white-collar working at the workplace.
Being at work all day long does not hinder sports. As mentioned above, using a yoga ball instead of a chair creates a very effective sporting activity both physically and psychologically. By sitting on the yoga ball, you can actively exercise, so that a healthy life is achieved and the muscles are developed. It is not necessary to look at sports only as physical activity, doing sports is very effective in the psychological context as well as physical benefit. The way of a positive life, a healthy body and happiness go through sports and yoga should be in every area of life.
Why Is Yoga Ball so Popular?
- More muscle works to maintain the balance
Studies have shown that, compared to exercises on flat surfaces, you will spend more effort to balance your body on the ball, and more muscles will be active than exercises on flat ground. One of the good things is that the back and abdominal muscles that are not working during other exercises (such as arm, shoulder, etc.) become functional. This increases the balance, coordination, and strength of core muscles. No extra effort is required to include these muscles in exercise. Even just sitting on the ball will make them work. According to the researches, since the studies on the yoga ball strengthen the central muscles, your chance of injury will decrease in general.
- Increases muscle strength and endurance
If you want to increase your overall body strength, the yoga ball is a great tool. Because it increases the endurance and strength of all big muscles. Squatting, push-ups and other general body exercises can be done with a yoga ball. Exercises with a yoga ball on an unstable surface become much more difficult. When working with the yoga ball, it is convenient to work with the help of a trainer at the initial stage.
- Stretching exercises
Yoga ball is the perfect tool for stretching exercises. You can easily do stretching movements in different positions. Working with the yoga ball will also increase flexibility.
- Effective in weight loss
Exercises that strengthen your muscles will also help you lose weight. If you exercise with a yoga ball regularly, you will lose weight.
What Should Be the Size of the Appropriate Yoga Ball?
Yoga balls are the most commonly used group for exercise in gyms. These balls are used especially in yoga and pilates. For an effective performance with the yoga ball, you have to choose the size of the ball correctly. Physiotherapists, exercise instructors, and other professionals have set some rules for the size of the appropriate yoga ball. A correctly chosen ball will benefit you from exercise and minimize the risk of injury. There are some positions that our body shape should take while sitting on a yoga ball. These positions are provided by the correct ball size.
1) The feet should be flat on the ground and balanced weight distribution should be available.
2) The level of the knees should be slightly lower than the pelvis. The angle between the hips and knees should be 90 degrees or slightly larger. The body should not be bent in any direction.
There are five different diameters in yoga balls. Each of these sizes can be used for different body compositions. It is not only the height that affects the size of the ball, but the weight of the ball is an important factor as these balls provide flexibility and resistance. If your weight is more than average, the ball will squeeze down when you sit on the yoga ball, in such cases, it will be appropriate to use a larger yoga ball to maintain the 90-degree rule.
The Relationship Between Yoga Ball Selection and Height
A few details that we should be careful about choosing a yoga ball when shopping from equipment stores will help increase the efficiency you get from these balls. Most importantly, you should choose the yoga ball according to your height. Diameter is important for effective use. If you are unstable between the two sizes in choosing the balls, you should try both and decide which one is right for you.
Sit on the inflated ball and witness that your knees form 90 degrees with the ground while your hip is parallel to the ground. In this way, your knees will distribute the weight of your body in a balanced way and prevent injuries.
If your height is;
- 150cm and below, 45cm
- Between 150cm and 170cm, 55cm
- Between 171cm and 185cm, 65cm
- 186cm and above, 75cm balls are ideal diameters for your use.
As you have noticed, the ball dimensions are specified in cm and some companies have coded these measurements with colors.
So you went to the sports store to choose a yoga ball and you didn’t have the chance to inflate it? Let’s reduce the chance factor, give your back to a wall and stand as if you are Squatting, with your hip parallel to the ground and your knees 90 degrees to the ground. By measuring between your hip and the ground, you can have an idea of choosing a ball.
If you use low air when you take your yoga ball, it will reduce the impact on your fixing and balancing work with the deflated ball as it will lose pressure support. Yoga balls, which may lose their pressure depending on usage, should, therefore, be of the recommended bulge, neither too little nor too much.
Adjusting the Yoga Ball to Your Height
Another issue is that the size of the yoga ball is adjustable. If the angle between the knees and hips is more than 90 degrees, some air may be released from the ball. Releasing air from the yoga ball will also mean that the pressure will decrease. The outer part of the ball becomes flat and a wider area comes into contact with the body of the user. This will make the ball more balanced. Thus, balance exercises will become easier, but some activities (such as the work of the muscles that provide balance) will be lost.
Yoga balls lose pressure when used continuously. Therefore, you need to inflate old balls more. Contact with the ball will be reduced when excessive air is pressed and it will be more difficult to detect. If you’re obese or overweight, you may be wondering if you can use a yoga ball. Many brands now produce explosion-proof balls for obese people. You can use these balls easily.
Other Uses of the Yoga Ball
Yoga ball movements are used with resistance exercises, yoga, and pilates exercises. It is also widely used in many health institutions to improve posture disorders and motor skills.
- Resistance exercises with bodyweight
As you know, it is possible to do countless exercises using body weight. If the yoga ball is included in the exercise while doing these exercises, we also include some muscles that are required to work with the yoga ball outside the target muscles. If we explain this with an example; Let’s say we do push-ups on the ball. The push-up movement primarily addresses the chest and arm muscles. But in order to balance you with the ball, you are putting your abdominal muscles and lower back muscles into the game. Exercises with body weight and yoga ball serve the purpose of burning fat, increasing the level of fitness, shaping, tightening and gaining flexibility.
- Resistance exercises using weights
As you know, exercises with weight are used in a wide range such as tightening, shaping, strengthening and fat burning. These exercises, which women avoid because of the concern of developing too much muscle, are not directly related to increasing muscle volume and providing a muscular appearance. If you add the yoga ball to the game in heavy work, it is possible to work out different muscles due to the balance factor. Such studies serve the purposes of losing weight, raising the physical form, gaining a tight, strong and flexible appearance, just like exercises with body weight.
- Using the ball in pilates exercises
Pilates is not known as a weight-loss method or a cardiovascular exercise method. They are movements that aim to tighten and give the body more flexibility. It is also aimed at the balance and posture of the body, especially since it targets the muscles supporting the spine. Because it pays special attention to concentration and breathing, it improves mind and body harmony. Exercising with the yoga ball makes pilates more fun. These exercises are aimed at flexibility, tightening, concentration, physical health.
- Using the ball in yoga practice
Yoga is mostly of spiritual origin. It can be done not only for exercise but also for meditation. Yoga exercises ensure that the person is spiritually and physically free, rested and all their senses are opened. It teaches how to deal with stress and also has an effect to reduce stress. Recently, doing yoga poses with a yoga ball has become widespread due to both more fun and extra gains.
Whether used in fitness exercises, yoga or pilates exercises, the exercises with yoga ball are based on the following basic groups;
Exercises sitting on the ball
Exercises lying prone on the ball
Exercises lying on the ball on the back
Exercises lying on the ball on its side
Exercises with hands on the ball
Exercises with feet on the ball
For example, push-ups can be done both with the feet on the ball and the hands on the ball.
Using Yoga Ball at Birth
Active birth is when the woman gives birth by making the movements she wants by listening to her body, not by lying down. Freedom of movement is one of the easiest applications to reduce the pain felt at birth. Because movement specificity makes birth easier. Thanks to the movement and position change at birth, you can have a faster and more comfortable birth. You will feel your control power at birth and your chances of having a natural birth are increased. Yoga is a preferred sport for a healthy life, and it is one of the methods preferred by pregnant women in the prenatal preparation process. You can exercise during your pregnancy with the approval of your doctor.
Yoga ball is among the most useful methods for a comfortable birth. You can sit on the ball, especially at the beginning of birth, between contractions or during it. You cannot give birth while lying down, so give an opportunity to listen to your body. Your body gives you clues on how to act. The body knows how to relax. Sitting on the ball allows your pelvis to naturally swing, move and rotate. It also supports the baby to go down.
Not every hospital may have a birth ball. For this reason, I suggest you ask whether there is a ball before going to the hospital. You can get yourself a ball, usually, a yoga ball with a diameter of 65cm is suitable. If you have never sat on the ball during your pregnancy, you should exercise a little, and it will be healthier in terms of standing in balance, not using it directly at birth. You can also do exercises with a ball at home during pregnancy. It will relax your waist muscles. Stating that it is possible to stretch and relax with some breathing techniques, experts say that mothers who receive support from the birth ball, which allows the body and breath to accompany the birth synchronously, give birth with less pain.
Stating that the ball used during childbirth is an alternative to the bed that restricts movements, the experts say: “Sitting on the ball supports the downward movement of the baby in the womb by encouraging the swing of the pelvis naturally. The birth ball provides perineal support without creating pressure and helps maintain the position of the baby in the pelvis. Pilates exercises alleviate the effects of back and low back pain, cramps, and pains that occur both during pregnancy and during normal delivery, while also ensuring easy and fast delivery. Mothers say that the yoga ball facilitates the arrival of the baby by creating positions suitable for them at birth. ”
Best Yoga Balls That You Can Buy Online
- Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair – Exercise Stability Yoga Ball Premium Ergonomic Chair for Home and Office Desk with Air Pump, Exercise Guide, and Satisfaction Guarantee (Price: $69.98)
- Gaiam Balance Disc Wobble Cushion Stability Core Trainer for Home or Office Desk Chair & Kids Alternative Classroom Sensory Wiggle Seat (Price: $21.98)
- Trideer Exercise Ball (45-85cm) Extra Thick Yoga Ball Chair, Anti-Burst Heavy Duty Stability Ball Supports 2200lbs, Birthing Ball with Quick Pump (Office & Home & Gym) (Price: $18.99)
- PharMeDoc Balance Ball Chair with Back Support for Home and Office w/Exercise Ball, Pump, Removable Back & Lockable Wheels (Price: $38.97)
- Trideer Exercise Ball (45-85cm) Extra Thick Yoga Ball Chair, Anti-Burst Heavy Duty Stability Ball Supports 2200lbs, Birthing Ball with Quick Pump (Office & Home & Gym) (Price: $28.99)