A yoga ball, also known as a stability ball, a fitness ball or a balance ball, is a tool used in yoga and other types of exercise. It's a rubber ball inflated with air that you use to add balance, weight or support to numerous exercises. Simply sitting or bouncing on the ball can help you toward your weight loss goals, while performing more intense exercises with the ball will boost your weight loss.
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Burn Calories While Sitting
Simply sitting on a yoga ball provides a small workout since your core muscles work to balance your body. A June 2008 study in the "European Journal of Applied Physiology" found that sitting on a stability ball burned 4.1 calories, or 6 percent, more than sitting on a desk chair every hour. Throughout the course of a day, sitting on the ball can help you burn a significant amount of extra calories.
Bounce to Lose
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in, which you can achieve through a combination of diet and physical activity. A moderate or vigorous level of activity can help you burn calories and lose weight, so bouncing on the ball at that level can help you reach your goals. You will probably need to perform more activity than bouncing on a fitness ball to lose weight, but it can be part of your exercise routine. Also, if you bounce when you would normally be sitting still, then you will boost your overall amount of physical activity.
Moving Past the Bounce
Other exercises with a yoga ball might help you reach a moderate or vigorous level of activity better than just bouncing on it. Adding the ball to a moderate workout can boost its intensity because exercising with the yoga ball forces you to balance -- and so it strengthens the core muscles in the abdominal area, as well as the chest and the back. Gaining core muscles will help you burn more calories to lose weight. "Fitness" magazine recommends performing exercises like pushups, squats and frog jumps with a fitness ball. Added benefits from a yoga ball include balance, back support, improved posture and assistance stretching.
Size Does Matter
The American Council on Exercise explains that the size of the yoga ball is very important. You need to choose a ball that fits your body size. In addition, a larger ball provides a less intense workout which is recommended for beginners or older adults. The air pressure in the ball is another consideration. When you have less air in the ball, the workout will be easier; when you add more air and create a firmer ball, you intensify any exercise you perform on the ball.