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Staying on the ball for better health

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Stability balls are finding their way to the office, hotel gym and even your bedroom. In the office you can substitute them for your office chair.

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Ball at the office: Even balancing on the ball while replying to email will help you become more aware of your posture.

Exercise: Sit tall, pull in your abs and try lifting one foot off the floor. This simple exercise will help strengthen core muscles and your lower back.

Traveling can be a ball: If you find yourself on the road, you might have experienced long hours of sitting. This position weakens the glutes and hamstrings, so head down to your hotel gym and find the stability ball. The best exercise to combat long periods of sitting is a hamstring bridge on the ball.

Exercises:

Shoulder Bridge Hip lifts - Start sitting and roll down until your head and shoulders are on the apex of the ball. Knees and feet should be parallel and hips lifted. Lower the hips and raise them for 60 seconds or about 25 repetitions.

Bridge for buttocks- To target the muscles deeper, lie on the floor and put your feet up on the ball. With hands at your sides, lift the hips keeping the pelvic tilted and roll the ball away and towards the body. Keep hips lifted throughout the movement and try for 20-25 repetitions. If you need additional challenge, hold one foot just above the ball as you lift and roll the ball.

Play ball: While the stability ball serves well for a play toy for the kids, you might want to keep it in your bedroom for your own fun and fitness. A great exercise each morning or just before bed is a prone hold on the ball.

Exercise: Place your elbows on the ball and extend the body. Keep the spine in a straight line to the heels and hold the plank position. The World Record is just below 20 minutes currently, so take your time and work up to it! ( Just kidding, work up to a minute of holding, then flip over and perform 20-30 crunches on the ball).

Whether you sit, roll and hold it - a stability ball can give you results and keep your fitness on a roll. More great fitness tips are available at www.AndreaMetcalf.com, healthy lifestyle spokesperson and health/fitness trainer.

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