Ball Stretching: Pleasurable stretching exercises
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Stretching is a popular form of exercise performed by most athletes and individuals. It relaxes the body, increases blood circulation and increases resistance to injury. It also plays an important role in decreasing muscle soreness if performed during warm up and cool down sessions.  There are various types of stretching exercises that are performed by individuals of various age groups in order to increase the body’s flexibility and range of motion of the joints. These include, back stretching, ball stretching, fitness stretching, chair stretching, chest stretching etc.

Ball stretching exercises are great for relaxing the body and mind. They release muscle tension, expand the tendons, increase blood circulation and improve the body’s structure and alignment. These stretches are not only pleasurable but also adjustable depending on the needs of the individual. They help de-stress the body and play a significant role in relaxing the mind while regulating the structural and muscular disproportions of the body.  Ball stretches can be performed by both men and women at any time and anywhere. These exercises must be done with great care in order to avoid any injuries.

A stretching ball is also known as fitness ball, therapy ball, Swiss Ball, gym ball, stability ball, balance ball, body ball, etc. It is a large inflated ball that comes in a number of sizes measuring around 35 to 85 cm in diameter. A fitness ball acts as the surface on which exercises are performed. This enables the body to respond to its instability and work the abdominals and core body muscles.

Exercise balls are used for both physical therapy and exercise to help with conditioning and strength. Since you tend to use more muscles to keep you balanced on the ball while doing exercises normally performed by sitting, lying or standing, these balls provide a deeper conditioning effect. When used with physical therapy rehab exercises, these balls can promote flexibility, coordination, motor skills, strength and balance. They can also be used in sports medicine, Pilates, aerobics, yoga and as birthing balls. They are perfect for stretching, improving posture and performing balance exercises.

Ball Stretching Exercises:

There are various fitness exercises that can be performed by athletes. The following exercises target at flexibility, and stability using an exercise ball.

Chest stretch
: You must lie with your face upwards on the ball and roll down until your back is supported. Relax your hip and head and let the arms fall on either side and feel the chest muscles stretch. Hold this position for about 15 seconds and repeat.

Whole body stretch:
Stand with your leg wide apart and place your hand on the ball rolling it. Press your chest towards the flow to stretch the back and hamstring. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat.
 
Back stretch:
You must stand facing the wall with your right hand atop it and the thumb pointing upwards. Roll the ball towards the left and keep the hips square. Hold for 15 seconds and perform the exercise with the other side and repeat.

Balance the ball:
Stand on your left leg with your right leg stretched behind you and hold the ball above your head. Lower the ball slowly towards the floor. Sweep the leg up behind you and balance, using the ball for support. Roll the ball a little upwards to elongate the body from head to toe. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Modified half moon: When you are in the balancing the ball position on the right leg turn your body in such a manner that your hips face the front and sweep the left arm directly above your shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with the other side.

Lunge stretch:
Place the ball under your body taking a low lunge position with one leg forward, the back leg straight out and balancing on the toe. Make sure that you are resting on the ball. Bring your hands above your head and then in front of you. Hold for about 15 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Stretching exercises are performed to increase the body’s flexibility and stability. They play a significant role in lengthening shortened muscles as tight muscles impact the movement of the lower back and pelvis leading to pain, particularly, due to unaligned tightness. Short muscles also affect the joints and ligaments around the muscles. This can results in pain, poor posture and injury. Stretching helps us maintain muscular balance and lengthen all muscle groups.