Pregnancy Exercises With Fitness Ball: A fitball is a large rubber ball designed for exercise. Sometimes it is also called the Swiss ball, as it was invented in Switzerland. Fitball is made of unique durable and elastic rubber using a special technology. The correct fitball can withstand high loads and does not explode if damaged, but deflates slowly. Probably today, this is one of the safest and most enjoyable exercise machines.
Recently fitball has become deservedly very popular and is used not only in gyms but also at home. Performing various exercises on fitball is useful not only for maintaining good physical shape but also for improving health and preventing many diseases of the musculoskeletal system. There are practically no age restrictions for this; even babies can start doing gymnastics on a fitball.
Woman and Ball
Fitball is especially widely used in pregnant women, women in labor, and women in the postpartum period. You can increasingly find these rubber balls of various colors and sizes in maternity hospitals, in apartments where a baby is expecting a baby or already have small children. The fact is that during pregnancy and childbirth, the condition of the muscles in a woman, their fitness and ability to stretch, is of great importance.
The stronger the abdomen, legs, and perineum muscles, the easier it is to carry a baby and give birth. And since sports and exercising on simulators during pregnancy and in the early postpartum period are, in most cases, contraindicated or limited, fitball is the best fit for training, strengthening and restoring muscles.
The principle of exercising on the ball is very simple: the round shape of the ball and its elasticity allows you to perform movements of different amplitudes. The instability and mobility of the ball force you to maintain balance by tensioning certain muscle groups.
It is best to start practicing fitball sometime before the planned pregnancy or at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy onset when the poor health and toxicosis recede. A pregnant woman should master fitball under the guidance of an instructor and start with minimal stress. Classes should be fun and enjoyable, so you should be serious about choosing the ball.
What to Look for When Buying a Fitball
- A woman should like the color of the ball because, given the pregnant woman’s unique position, nothing should irritate the visual perception. Moreover, communication with this subject will be long and daily. Let it be your favorite shade.
- The size of the fitball is important and depends on the size of the woman herself. The diameter of the ball should be roughly the length of your arm. Or you can focus on the growth of the pregnant woman – the diameter of the fitball, in this case, is calculated by the formula: the height of the woman in cm minus 100 cm. Thus, if the height is 165 cm, then the diameter of the fitball should be about 65 cm.
- The degree of elasticity of the fitball is also an important parameter. The ball should be inflated to the size indicated on the package. A ball that is too hard or balls that are too soft are not desirable. This will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
- The presence of unique “horns” adds convenience when performing exercises. Also, thanks to these handles, it is easy to carry the ball. Subsequently, they will be useful for children’s activities; it is convenient for them to hold onto them.
Indications for Using the Ball During Pregnancy
- 1. Strengthening the muscles of the abdomen, back, hips, and perineum.
- 2. Reducing tension and pain in the lumbar region and back.
- 3. Normalization of blood circulation in the pelvic area.
- 4. Improving the sense of balance.
- 5. Performing Kegel exercises that promote the development of vaginal muscles play an important role during childbirth.
- 6. Acceleration of involution (recovery) of the genitals after childbirth.
- 7. Improving the mobility of the pelvic ligaments and hip joints.
- 8. Relief of labor pains.
Also, ball exercises help a woman learn to relax, alternating muscle loading and relaxation, a useful skill for the upcoming labor. Many women prefer to endure labor pains on a fitball; this relaxes the pelvic floor muscles and reduces the load on the spine, which greatly facilitates the woman’s general condition in labor.
Contraindications to Exercise on Fitball During Pregnancy
There are not many contraindications, but they are still there. Therefore, before using the ball for physical activity, you should consult with your gynecologist. As a rule, exercises on the ball are contraindicated in case of increased uterine tone, the threat of miscarriage, some pathologies of pregnancy, and cervical incompetence. There are also chronic diseases of the musculoskeletal system and internal organs, in which exercise on a fitball is undesirable.
So, if there are no serious reasons to avoid physical activity and the doctor allowed gymnastics on fitball, then you can start classes.
The optimal exercise regimen for pregnant women is 2-3 times a week. You should start gradually, from 10-15 minutes, bringing the duration of classes to an hour. Often in groups for pregnant women, fitball exercises are combined with a unique complex of physiotherapy exercises. It is recommended to do a short warm-up before gymnastics.
- Exercises for the Lower Back and Back Muscles
- Sitting on the ball and leaning on it with your hands, perform circular movements with your pelvis clockwise and counterclockwise, movements back and forth, right and left. This exercise perfectly relaxes the lower back and pelvis muscles, improves the elasticity of the cervix, and reduces pain during contractions.
- Sitting on a fitball with your legs wide apart, rotate your body to the right and left, trying to reach the toes of the opposite leg with your hand. This exercise improves the stretch of the psoas.
2. Exercise to Strengthen and Improve the Stretch of the Leg Muscles
Sitting on the floor, squeeze the ball with your knees as tightly as possible. Repeat several times with rest breaks.
3. We Are Strengthening the Muscles of the Arms and Pectoral Muscles
While standing, squeeze the ball in front of you with outstretched arms. Repeat several times.
4. Strengthens the Spine and Shoulder Muscles
Standing in front of the ball and keeping your feet on the floor, bend over and roll the fitball away from you, then back. Try to stretch your back muscles, spine and shoulder muscles as much as possible.
5. Exercise for Stretching the Thighs and Strengthening the Gluteal Muscles, Improving Joint Mobility
Leaning your chest on the ball and your knees, swing your left and right legs alternately upward with the maximum possible amplitude. In this case, the hands lie on the ball under the chin.
Sitting on your knees on the floor, rest your chest on the ball and hug it with your hands, while your back muscles are relaxed, your back is bent. This position will help relax between contractions and provide a short rest for tense muscles. The ability to relax in childbirth is just as important as the ability to push well. Complete relaxation deepens breathing, which means it improves blood circulation and oxygen supply to the placenta, which is very important for the fetus.
Kegel Exercises on the Ball
This set of exercises helps to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor and vagina. This is important not only in childbirth for the implementation of the child’s correct passage through the birth canal and reducing the risk of rupture but also in the everyday life of a woman.
Most often, most women do not pay enough attention to this muscle group and are not even aware of the possibility of controlling them. Strengthening the vaginal muscles and the ability to regulate the strength of their contraction can significantly improve the quality of a woman’s sex life and her partner. It will also help in the future to avoid some problems in the intimate sphere and diseases of the genitourinary system.
The deep muscles of the pelvis are mainly used in the process of urination, when it is necessary to hold back the stream of urine, the woman contracts them. The force of muscle contraction is small. Through regular exercise, you can achieve conscious control of these muscles and increase contraction and relaxation strength.
There is a specially designed set of exercises aimed at controlling the pelvic floor’s muscular system, named after Dr. Kegel, who invented it. This complex’s essence is to perform a series of sequential muscle contractions and relaxations in a certain rhythm. Exercise develops the appropriate muscles quite effectively, and in combination with the use of a fitball, you can achieve the best results.
Sitting on the ball, it is necessary to contract the vagina’s muscles while simultaneously pressing the pelvis on the ball, followed by the maximum muscle tension and stopping the movement on the ball, followed by gradual relaxation and return to the starting position.
Fitness ball exercises do not take much time and effort on the part of a woman. But the results justify this effort. The ability to have strong muscles, a slender and healthy body, it is easy to bear and give birth to a child, to lead an active lifestyle without unnecessary costs for visiting gyms and massage parlors is a good reason to have such a simple and very useful item as a fitball at home. Having mastered the primary complexes of exercises and the rules for using a fitball, every woman will appreciate this home simulator with benefits for her health and her own family’s health.