"Saddle-like" seat aids in developing muscles, coordination, and balance. Provides stability, comfort, and confidence. Excellent for working abdominal muscles as well as balance and postural training. Provides more stability than traditional exercise ball, therapy ball, or ball chair. Easier to control than exercise balls because motion is limited to forward and backward rotation. Unique shape also allows activities that might otherwise be somewhat risky on a traditional therapy ball. Molded, heavy duty rolls can support up to 300 lbs.
The right kind of therapy or exercise ball can provide so many benefits to physical therapy exercises. When used effectively, they can assist with the development and building of gross motor skills, bilateral coordination, core muscle strength, postural stability and so much more. By taking the time to choose the right size and type of exercise or therapy ball, you get the most out of it each time it is used.
A therapy or exercise ball may not look like something much thought needs to be put into before purchasing. In order to get the most effective (and fun) ball for your needs, there are a few things to take into consideration.
Choosing The Right Size
Follow recommendations form a physical therapist or occupational therapist. If a consultation isn’t possible, you can still make a well-educated choice by following these three guidelines:
With the user seated upright on the exercise ball, check that their feet are flat on the ground. Also, make sure that their weight is even distributed across the top of the ball.
Knees should be level or slightly lower than the pelvis. Ideally, this will create a 90-degree angle at both the hips and the knees with the user’s thighs parallel to the ground or pointing down slightly.
The ears, shoulder and pelvis of the user should be in a vertical line, with no leaning necessary to act as a counter balance to keep them on the ball. If the user is leaning, try having them bounce up and down a little. This should assist with the alignment.
A quick general rule for determining the best size for an exercise ball: measure the distance from the user’s armpit to the middle finger tip. This measurement will give you a decent estimate of what the diameter of your ball should be.
Weight and Inflation
While height plays the biggest role in finding the best size for your exercise ball, it is also important to take the user’s weight into consideration. A user whose weight-to-height ratio is higher than average will cause greater compression to the ball when they are seated. These users may want to buy the next step up in size in order to maintain the comfort and effectiveness provided by the 90-degree rule.
Adjusting the amount of air in the exercise or therapy balls can also help achieve the 90-degree rule. If the angles at the user’s hips and knees are much greater or less than 90-degree, the ball can be inflated or deflated a bit to compensate. Just be mindful of how much air pressure is lost or gained. Too little air in the ball can make stabilizing and balancing exercises too easy and less effective; too much air pressure could make these exercises too difficult.
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