6 Best Beach Ball Exercises for Seniors

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

You may not be a gym-goer. You don’t even have dumbbells at home for light workout sessions. But you’ve got a beach ball in the garage. Maybe you could use you could use it to keep yourself fit.

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But how? This guide will give you a few workout ideas with a beach ball that can help you stay fit.

Benefits of Beach Ball Exercises

Beach ball exercises improve your strength and balance without putting stress on your joints and bones. Some older adults even develop problems maintaining their balance. But a few exercises with the beach ball can get things back on track.

In addition to improving your balance, beach ball exercises can also increase your strength. An Occidental College study shows that exercises like leg lifts and hip circles are helpful in improving your core muscles.

Therefore, don’t let the ball sit idle in your home. Check with you doctor then get yourself out to the beach and start working out to boost your strength and improve your balance.

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Best Beach Ball Exercises

Here’s a video that demonstrates many exercises you can do with a beach ball.

1. Hip Circles

Let’s start with the easiest one, but one of the most effective exercises. Hip muscles or hip flexors are crucial in maintaining your mobility as you age.

In this exercise, you need to do the following:

• Sit on the ball. Put your feet flat on the ground. Keep your knees at a 90o angle. Your legs should be slightly wider than your shoulder’s width.
• Once you are in position, move your hips slowly in a clockwise circle. Make sure to keep your upper body straight and feet on the ground.
• Move your hips at least 10 to 15 times. Next, move it in an anticlockwise direction.

As already mentioned, this is an easy exercise. You can consider it as a warm-up before moving on to some of the more challenging exercises.

2. Leg Lifts

This is another easy exercise that works your hips, quadriceps, and back. In addition, it strengthens your knee so that you don’t stumble over frequently.

• Sit on the ball. Keep your knees at a 90o angle. Make sure your feet is on the floor. Your legs should have the same width as your shoulders.
• Keep your hands on the side. Lift one leg slowly until it straightens your knee. Extend your leg straight out.
• Hold this position for at least 5 seconds. If you can do it longer, good for you. But try to hold it for 5 seconds. Lower it slowly.
• Do this at least 10 to 15 times. Then try the same posture with the other leg.

Alternatively, you can also raise your leg from the ground without straightening the knee. To make the exercise slightly challenging, you can raise your opposite arm every time you lift one leg.

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3. Bird Dog

This is a slightly challenging exercise than the other two. A beach ball comes in various sizes. You should use one on which you can sit comfortably, and your feet touch the ground without dangling.

• Put your stomach at the center of the ball and lie face down. Your toes should touch the floor. Try to touch your palms on the floor too.
• You can increase the difficulty level of this exercise by rolling the ball towards your hips.
• Once in position, maintain your balance by tightening your abdomen muscles. The secret to achieving success in this exercise is maintaining your balance. Therefore, if you think you are going to roll sideways, use your toes to hold on to the ground.
• Next, lift your left leg slowly and simultaneously, raise your right arm. Extend them fully and try to point your arm and leg toward the ceiling.
• Bring the arm and leg down slowly. Repeat the same thing with the other arm and leg.
• Do this exercise at least 10 times. It’s best if you can manage 15, but start with 10 and then increase the number of repetitions.

There are a few variations of this exercise. For example, beginners can only raise your leg or arm individually instead. On the other hand, you increase its difficulty level by extending the leg and arm on the same side.

4. Back Extension

• Put your stomach at the center of the ball and lie face down. Your toes should touch the floor. Keep your feet spread slightly more than your shoulders.
• Your arms should rest at your side. Otherwise, you can keep them beside your head. In that case, you should extend your elbows.
• Take a deep breath.
• Then, start exhaling as you lift your upper body and pull your shoulders back. Your lower back should force your upper body to lift itself up. Keep in mind that your neck has to be aligned with your spine. Don’t extend it forcefully.
• Hold the position for a few seconds before returning to your starting position.
• Do at least 2 sets of this exercise with 10 repetitions in each set.

5. Bridges

• Lie on your back on the floor. Keep your legs straight and shoulders relaxed. Gently lift your legs and keep the heels on the beach ball. Make sure your hands remain on your sides.
• Put pressure on your heels. This should press the ball slightly.
• Next, try lifting your lower back as you keep the ball pressed with your heels. It’s ease when you squeeze your glutes.
• You can use your hands to force your lower back to raise slowly. Keep lifting your lower back until it’s in line with your shoulders and feet. Don’t hold the position for too long if your back hurts. You may not even raise it to match the alignment if you don’t feel comfortable.
• An easier version of this exercise is when you bend your knees to lift your lower back.
• 2 sets of this exercise with 10 repetitions can strengthen your lower back and improve your balance.

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6. Thigh Squeeze

This exercise is suitable with a small beach ball. It helps strengthen your thighs. Take a beach ball made of rubber with an approximately 9-inch diameter.

• Take a chair and sit on it straight. However, the chair’s back should be in front of you. A chair with handles isn’t a suitable option for this exercise.
• Next, take the small ball and place it between your thighs. You can hold the chair as you balance the ball. The ball should be close to your thighs but not as high up as your crotch. Keep it between your thighs and knees.
• Squeeze the ball by bringing your knees together. Your inner thighs will resist, but try to hold this position for a while.
• Keep the inner thighs close to each other for a couple of seconds. Repeat this at least 10 times for 2 sets.

These are a few exercises with a beach ball that you can try at home. Seniors with mobility problems should start with the easier exercises before moving to the more challenging ones. But if you are pretty fit already, you can use the simpler ones for a warm-up before progressing to the more difficult ones.

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