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The Swiss Ball Makes Exercise Fun and Effective!

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/21/2006 | Fitness
If you haven't experienced a workout using a Swiss ball, another name for a fitness ball, you don't know what you're missing.

There's a reason it has become so popular and it's not just a fad. The Swiss ball has been used for many years in physical therapy. It's actually recommended by many physical therapists as a way to help you relieve back pain.

The effectiveness of the Swiss ball is due to the fact it's round. That creates in-stability which in turns causes your body's core muscles to come into play.

Listen, when you do a crunch on the floor, basically your upper abs muscles are working. When you do it on the Swiss ball, your core muscles; which consist of all the muscles in your abs area, muscles in your back, your pelvic area and hips are working to help keep you on the ball.

You just did your crunch but since more muscles were brought into play, you actually increased the value of your exercise. The result is you can actually do fewer repetitions and get more benefit.

That's just the beginning. There are so many exercises you can do on the Swiss ball that you'll never get bored.

Try some pushups, not only with your feet on the ball and your arms on the floor, but with your feet on the floor and your hands on the ball. Spreading your feet apart gives you more stability and bringing them closer together makes the exercise tougher.

Do a few pushups with your feet close together and your hands on the ball and you won't believe the effect! Your arms will scream for mercy!

You can also do some dumbbell training on the Swiss ball and, once again, since you are bringing those core muscles into play, you get a good body core workout as well.

It takes a little while to get used to the ball. You should begin by sitting on it and just getting a feel for it. Roll it back and forth. Side to side.

It's not a bad idea to have someone with you when you first start working out on the ball to help you stay on. And definitely don't begin using weights of any size until you are comfortable and have been exercising on the ball for some time.

I urge you to try including the Swiss ball into your exercise routine. You will see and feel a difference!

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