• Gail Johnson

Working out at home and squeezing balls

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

Whether you're Prairie folk facing snow already this fall or you're astonished by the monsoon rains here on the West Coast (wasn't summer just five minutes ago?), chances are the thought of getting outside for a walk, run, or bike ride is a a little less appealing these days.

Ball photo.

Kia Porter Photography

Cue the dance music on your iPhone and turn whatever space you have into a home gym. It doesn't take a lot of space or expensive equipment. But if you are going to invest in some stuff, go for one of these beauty exercise balls.

There's so much you can do with these to build strength and even work on cardiovascular endurance. Don't just use it to sit on it at your desk while you're scrolling through Facebook!

Squeeze that sucker between your legs as if you're trying to pop it (pictured!). From that same position, slowly drop your legs from side to side, trying to touch your outside baby toe to the ground. Or slowly lower your legs straight down toward the floor then back up again and pass the ball to your hands, then lower your arms and legs simultaneously, passing the back back to your legs

Need more ballsy ideas?

Use the ball for wall squats, pushups (with your shins atop it), or reverse crunches (ditto). Use it for front planks (on your forearms) or side crunches (with your feet propped up against a wall).

Lie on your back and rest your calves on the ball, lift your hips up (waaaaaay up) and hold them up while you draw your knees in toward your chest and back out again, slowly. Repeat! (Need more? Take your arms off the floor and hold them over your chest or on the floor over your head while doing this.)

Kneel atop it, slowly building up how much time you can spend there gradually, one second at a time. Or sit on it, with one leg off the ground, switching sides.

If you want to get your heart rate up, sit down on the ball and stand up again quickly, for a round of squats, or do jumping jacks, travelling around the ball in a circle, with your butt touching down each time. Hold it in your hands in front of your body, and pretend you're about to toss it behind you over each shoulder, alternating as you travel laterally with either low or high impact.

It's simple stuff, but because so much ball work requires you to maintain your balance, you draw on your core and stabilizing muscles without even thinking about it.

Remember, too, what we talked about the other day: anything you do in a given day to treat your body to the movement it craves, needs, and thrives on is better than nothing!

Do you have ball exercises that you swear by? Share them here!

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