Good afternoon everyone. Today marks a departure from my previous posts about my journey of physical discovery with a new chain of posts about my journey to personal discovery. Now there are many topics that would fall under this category, but the first one I am going to start with is exercise and my exercise style. After years of trying (and failing) to find an exercise routine or form of exercise that I’ll actually follow through with and engage in, I’ve found the exercise ball.
These big, heavy-duty, inflatible plastic balls come in about three different sizes (55cm, 65cm, 75cm) suited for different height ranges and are known by a quite a few different names:
- Swiss Ball
- Body Ball
- Exercise Ball
- Gym Ball
- Yoga/Pilates Ball
- Stability Ball
Regardless of what you call them or know them by they are a great way to engage in physical activity. We all know that exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean we don’t struggle to commit to an exercise routine and find one that works for us. One way to change this is to “improve your perception of exercise” by finding a routine that you want to do as opposed to one that you feel you should do (Vorvick).
Medical Director Linda J. Vorvick says that the key to finding and sticking to an exercise routine is to “be true to yourself”. She lists a few other ways, but I believe that being true to yourself is the most important. If you like structure and need to feel the burn, then the gym and exercise machines may be for you. If you like exercising along with others the gym is a great way to stay motivated and you can always employ a professional trainer to help you if you need it. Then again, if you prefer to exercise in the privacy of your home, but still want to feel the burn and intensity of a gym workout, you can purchase an exercise machine for your house and use it. Or maybe you want something a bit simpler? Everyone knows about the treadmill and walking is one of the simplest forms of exercise there is.
Personally I have a treadmill at home, but I never use it. The main reason being that I find walking a boring exercise and I don’t find its intensive enough for me. However, I’m not a gym person and since I’m not so physically fit at the moment I don’t think my body can handle intensive exercise routines like the running I would like to do. So I move on to an increasingly popular form of exercise with major health benefits that I would like to try: Yoga.
Yoga has many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits which results in a holistic workout. According to Erika Dillman, author of The Little Yoga Book, yoga does the following:
- challenges mind and body
- increases flexibility and stamina
- builds strength
- improves balance and concentration
- improves circulation
- promotes relaxation
- benefits internal organs, glands, and muscles
As someone who suffers from mental problems and anxiety I really want to try yoga to see if it will help me both physically and mentally. Unfortunately, like with a gym membership, yoga classes cost monthly fees that I’m not currently in a position to afford. And while one can practice yoga at home, its advisable that a beginner takes a few classes to be guided in the foundations of good breathing and proper posture before trying yoga on their own, even with the help of an instructional book or DVD. The second hindrance is the time of the classes that don’t necessarily suit my schedule. Therefore, I’ve put a whole on my engagement with yoga, but I do plan to join a class in the future.
Aside from gym exercises and yoga there are more engaging forms of physical exercise that have the fun factor for those who want to have a good time when being active. From hiking and biking, to dancing and sports there’s a form of exercise suited to everyone. However, I still felt that there’s something for everyone and then there’s me. I don’t have the energy to engage in sports or dance, even though I would love to dance. Opportunities in my country are also not as wide-ranging as some other countries. Or maybe they are there, but hard to find unless you know where to look. So where does that leave me. For a long time it left me trying to use a treadmill and then wishing I could join a yoga class, until I came across the exercise ball, as mentioned before.
So, this month I started using my exercise ball and I quite enjoy it. There are many benefits to using an exercise ball. First, it requires one piece of equipment that allows you to do many different exercises. It’s like a rubber workout machine. Second, I personally find that it makes certain exercises less stressful to do. Wall squats for one are made much simpler and so are crunches. Two exercises that I normally wouldn’t even try, I now enjoy doing. Third, they are great for toning and targeting the core muscles essential for stability and good posture (Ball-Exercises.com) So, to anyone struggling to find an exercise routine that works for them and that they can stick to. If everything you’ve tried hasn’t worked, try an exercise ball. And if you aren’t sure, then check out Ball-Exercise.com for a lot of useful information that will help you make an informed decision.
Ball-Exercises.com. “Your Complete Guide to Ball Exercises”. Web. 07 April 2015.
Dillman, Erika. The Little Yoga Book.New York: Warner Books, 1999.Print.
Vorvick, Linda J. “Learn to Love Exercise.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2015.