Introducing, the Exercise Ball!
Hello Queens! Glad you made it over to WHOLE Express! This is the first of a new feature series especially for “mature” sistahs 50 and over we’re calling “Fit & Fabulous!” This is the 411 on growing older gracefully, and being your healthiest self. You’ll want to sign-up for an RSS feed on these posts so you won’t miss a word!
It’s Healthy Aging Month— time to get on the ball! I’ve discovered this wonderful, inexpensive, fitness ball and absolutely love it! You can shape up every inch of your body with this ball, and strengthen your core in the process.
Now don’t be intimidated by the size of the model in this picture! Very few of us are that size–myself included! Focus on the ball–it’s well worth checking out. It offers low-impact exercises that will allow you to gently work your way towards the toned, firm frame we’re all capable of creating.
Getting to the Core of the Matter
Now that we’re in our middle years, it’s time to pay special attention to our “Middles.” I don’t know about you, but after birthing a baby, and the stretch of time, my abdominal muscles are pretty loose–how ’bout you? Aside from it being flabby, and creating a “muffin-top” effect in our clothes, loose abdominal muscles can also be a source of back pain and the harbinger of other future health challenges like diabetes and hypertension.
This exercise ball is a great way to get at those hard to isolate upper and lower abdominal muscles by expanding your range of motion as you do sit ups.
Doing sit-ups just got fun–well maybe not fun (how could they be?) but at least more interesting. Sit-ups on this ball (as pictured) offers several distinctively different advantages to those done on the floor:
- By draping your lower back over the ball, you’re expanding the range of motion far beyond what you can achieve by laying flat;
- It nestles in the curve of your back, providing full back support at every angle of your sit-up; and
- Balancing on the ball requires that you engage all the muscles of your lower body and trunk, so it promotes full body firmness!
Just like you see in the picture, doing crunches on the ball is pretty self-explanatory, but here are a few tips:
- Start by sitting on the ball with feet firmly planted on the ground shoulder-width apart.
- Interlock your fingers and place behind your neck, then slowly raise your upper body in the traditional sit-up.
- Be sure to keep elbows level with your ears at all time. Remember, you are raising your upper body with the abdominal muscles, not pulling up through the neck.
- Squeeze your booty tight as you raise your upper body to fully engage the muscles of the lower back and upper thigh.
Start by doing 10 (if you can), sit up and rest for a minute. Repeat the sequence twice. That’s it! Get on the Ball!
Questions: How many sit-ups can you do? What goal are you going to set for the number of sit-up you’ll do every day?