Lasting weight loss requires a lifestyle change. Exercising more and eating healthier helps you achieve your desired weight. However, the key to making the weight loss last is to have fun getting there. Yoga balls -- or stability balls -- make exercising fun through the creative positions and bounciness they offer. And they can even replace your standard desk chair at the office.
Like any piece of exercise equipment, a number of factors play into your purchase of a yoga ball. Yoga balls come in a rainbow of colors, and are made from tough, yet flexible vinyl. Plus, they range in sizes from 30 to 85 centimeters to accommodate those of short or tall stature. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that your knees rest at a 90-degree angle when sitting on the ball when your feet are flat on the floor. Try the floor model before buying one to make sure you're getting the right size.
Weight Loss By The Numbers
Weight loss is all about the numbers. To figure out how much bouncing you need to do, first understand the basics of how weight loss and gain are calculated. Everyone has an amount of calories they should eat -- based on their activity level -- to keep them from gaining weight. That's why nutrition labels are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. But for every additional 3,500 calories you eat, you'll gain 1 pound. If you snack a little each day and don't counter that with physical activity, then you're like to gain weight. Likewise, if you limit your calories, you're likely to lose weight. Each woman's body is different. Your weight can fluctuate throughout the month due to hormones. Even so, eating a well-balanced diet, rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, combined with regular exercise, helps you lose weight the right way
Cardio is Important
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends most 30-minutes of exercise a day, preferable through a mix of strength and cardio. Yet sometimes with hectic schedules, fitting in 30-minutes at a gym isn't possible. But wedging intense, short-burst yoga ball moves, such as those suggested by Stephanie Dupuis-Morris, co-owner of "Resist-A-Ball," in between your in-home strength sets can increase your heart rate and burn up to 100 calories. Dupuis-Morris recommends ski steps, step-touches and ball jogs. For ball jogs, bounce on the ball while lifting your knees high into the air.
Pulling Double Duty
Next time you sit down to enjoy your favorite show, skip the couch and plant yourself on the ball instead. Not only will you be burning calories, but you'll be strengthening your abs and lower back. Feel free to swap your desk chair -- at home or work -- for a yoga ball, as well. Do alternating repetitions of gentle and vigorous bounces throughout the workday. This will help burn calories while relieving work-induced stress. Remember, whether you're in front of the tube or at work, always keep moving.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.