When it comes to fun exercising and benefits, an exercise ball can be considered as an alternative for a trampoline. If you have a teen that is into physical activity or you are trying to get yours to be more active, an exercise ball may fill that gap.
Many will appreciate that this tool is less risky for teens. On a reasonable note, we all know that reckless use of any tool presents a certain level of danger. For an exercise ball, improper use and a defective ball is the main culprit for incidents.
It is typically a large vinyl ball that is used to stretch and strengthen the body with. It is also known as a stability ball, swiss ball, medicine ball, or fitness ball among many other names. Note that there are small sizes as well and those made from other materials.
It is used mainly for stretching, strength training, and balance improvement. It is considered an innovative way to do exercise, sit and stretch. Teaching your teen the correct way to use it can avoid injuries and present as a pleasant tool for exercising.
- Check medical conditions like balance problems or bones and joints problems.
- Any underlying conditions or health issues rather seek medical advice before use.
Having said so, then why should you get one for your teen?
Benefits of using an exercise ball
The exercise ball is said to be good for back and spine health, core stability, better posture, and muscle balance. Exercising with one will increase your teen’s flexibility and endurance. Also, the small movement for a short period is very effective to move lymph.
It can help to lose some calories. Being in constant movement does help us to burn calories. With an exercise ball, teenagers will have to continuously be shifting their position to maintain balance on the ball.
It is usually:
- Don’t take up much space
- For large ones, you can even get creative with storing them.
Choosing the right ball
Choosing the right exercise ball size for your teen is essential. It is usually done according to the height of the individual. The weight also is an important factor in the choice made. You can however easily get an exercise ball for your teen and then adjust the air inside of the ball. This can be done by either releasing some air to the appropriate size or increasing the air inside the ball.
- Releasing too much air will make doing exercise too simple or easier since the need to maintain balance will be reduced. However, the exercise will be so less effective.
- With continuous use, the ball will stretch and thus will require inflation.
- Consider a ball size of a medium to large for your teen. Medium one if your teen’s height is between 140-165cm thus ball’s height 55cm. Large if your teen’s height is between 165-185cm thus ball height is 65cm.
What it consists of?
Usually, you can simply buy an exercise ball with no accessories. Some, however, may come with one of the following:
- An inflating tool. (A bike pump can be used instead though).
- Instruction. (Some are directly illustrated on the ball).
- A measuring tape. (It serves as a guide through different phases of inflation).
Other accessories such as stability base or ring can be bought separately. The ball is more commonly made of burst resistance plastic. The material thickness plays a large role in burst resistance.
- Inflating the ball takes some effort to do so. Most are done in two stages to allow the material to expand.
- All the above plays a vital role in making the exercise ball safe for use.
How not to use an exercise ball
- Don’t sit on it for a long period since it induces lower back discomfort. The ball challenges your back muscles but doesn’t provide any back support.
- Don’t perform stunts on it to prevent injuries.
How to use one
- Start by warming up to get the blood pumping all around the body in preparation for exercise.
- It is also good to finish with cool-down stretches.
- Sit on the ball with feet flat on the floor and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your back straight. For more stability, you can spread your feet.
- Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Bounce lightly on the ball keeping your balance at all times. Bouncing up and down engages the entire core including the back and hip muscles.
Some simple ball exercises for teens
Simple core and leg exercise is good for teens to gain confidence with using the ball.
- Leg extension
- Sit up on the ball
- Ball plank
- Wall squat with the ball held against the wall with your back.
- Lift and squeeze the ball between your feet.
- Use a less inflate ball first then as confidence is gained, inflate to proper size as directed.
- Leave enough area to move around.
How to have fun with an exercise ball
The best way for a teenager to enjoy exercising with an exercise ball is by varying exercise. This will help them to focus as they coordinate their movements.
- Hand-walking while rolling on the ball in an attempt to reach a distant object; for example a chair.
- Side bends by lifting the ball.
- Alternating arm leg holds on the ball.
- Rolling hip in a circle while sitting on the ball. They can hold a wall for stability until they get their footing. Start with small circles going on to larger ones.
Tip: To avoid slipping, use a sticky mat or shoes with good traction.
It is not advisable to sit on an exercise ball all day long. Instead, your teen can sit on it for about 20 minutes at a time. Longer than that they may cause more harm to themselves including bad sitting postures. This is because since the ball is unstable it may cause fatigue.
Encourage them to use it during their short breaks to stretch or during their exercise routine. Sitting on an exercise ball for short time helps to strengthen the core.
- All of these should be attempted with guided instructions.
- Don’t forget to breathe in and out while exercising.
- If the teen is in pain ask them to stop for they may cause serious self-damage if they pursue.
- Purchase the right type of ball for the environment. In the case of a teen, it should be suited for use at home. Quality and durability should equate to the use for it. If it is instructed to be used indoors, do so and not outside.
- Make sure that you get proper instruction about how to use it. Seek advice on how to properly make use of one if none is provided.
- To reduce wear or puncture, use it on a clean smooth surface with no debris around.
- Keep the ball away from sharp edges.
- A mat acts as a cushion in case your teenager falls.
- Faulty or improperly used equipment may cause injuries. Bursting of the ball may cause a serious injury. Bursting may be due to over-inflation, excessive user weight, weakened or worn areas; especially seams, punctures, or when used beyond the manufacturer’s recommended life. When the ball is damaged it is a real cause for concern.
- Positioned it against a wall or sturdy furniture such as chairs for support and balance.
- Use the ball for the right purpose. Improper use of it such as kicking, hitting, or throwing it can increase the chance of breakage and cause injuries.
- Regular inspections are a must. Check for scratches, tear, damage or marks. These may cause deflation when weight is inserted on it and result in an injury.
- If any damage is found, it means that it is no longer safe to use the ball. Don’t even try to repair it for it will make it even more unsafe to use.
- The exercise ball lifespan is usually 12 months on average. It should be replaced afterward as it will pose a risk with continuous use.
Tip: Mark the exercise ball with the date of purchase and its burst limit to keep track of it.
Proper maintenance increases the life and effectiveness of the ball. Therefore, it is important to store properly, clean, and inflate as indicated.
- Store it the classic way in a closet or on racks.
- Or store it the innovative way in a corner of the ceiling (the Japanese way) or by using nets on walls as a hanging option. Brackets near ceiling heights can also be used.
- Do not store in overly cool or warm places. Store at room temperature.
- Keep it away from direct sunlight and heat for This weakens the materials to which the ball is made up of.
- Store it properly to prevent unauthorized use especially if you have young ones around.
- It will also avoid the incident of someone tripping over it.
Do not overinflate. Instead, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions; not at one go, and making use of a measuring tape to do so.
Use mild soap and water to clean the ball.
- Do not exercise on a full stomach.
- Heat shortens the ball’s lifespan.
- Keep the ball away from pets especially cats and dogs for they can easily destroy the ball.
To sum it all
It is obvious to see that to get the best out of the 1-year lifespan of an exercise ball your teen needs to take good care of it. This will include its use and the way it is stored. Just bear in mind that they should monitor the ball for any damage.
All exercises that a teenager will do on an exercise ball will definitely engage more muscles than a stable surface will.
Basically, most of the fun will come into maintaining balance on the ball throughout a session. It is one of the best tools that you can give to your teen for keeping fit.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
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