A few years ago I went to visit my hair stylist, a really nice woman who suffered, as many stylists do, from a bad back. At the time I had long hair I was really rather vain about, since it was a vibrant shade of red, but she scolded me for not taking care of it. She even said that if I wasnâ€™t going to look after it properly I really should have it cut short. And that was a shock.
I hadnâ€™t realized until then that I wasnâ€™t just ignoring my hair, I wasnâ€™t looking after myself at all. I had been ill for quite some time I was feeling tired most of the time, and although I hadnâ€™t admitted it, I was beginning to find it difficult to do some fairly basic things, like brushing my hair.
So that afternoon I decided no more sloth. That was the end. No-one was going to get me to cut my hair. The only problem was, my body didnâ€™t agree. Hard as I tried there was something wrong, I just couldnâ€™t do the whole hair brushing motion. I remembered by grandmother saying something similar, that she was finding some things difficult, and then I worked out her age, and realized I was now as old as my grandmother was then. And that was another shock. So I decided to take action and hired a personal trainer. She introduced me to â€˜the ballâ€™.
My ball was blue. And very large. My husband thought it was funny, but he was wrong.
All right I admit it, I thought it was funny at first. The truth is I actually enjoy using the ball, whether itâ€™s stretching over it, or trying to balance on it, or just sitting there doing leg raises. I worked with the trainer for 8 weeks, learning to do various exercises, and because it was fun, it wasnâ€™t too hard to remember to do them when she wasnâ€™t there. It was difficult at first, but in only a short time I found that taking exercise gave me more energy.
Originally the idea was to use the ball to do stretching exercises before the main â€˜workoutâ€™, but as we worked I found that more and more could be done actually with the ball from simple squats, done nice and slow, to rolling exercises, calf raises and loads of others.
Using the ball I learned to stretch and over time regained a lot of the flexibility I thought I had lost. Soon I was able to lift the ball over my head and more importantly brush my hair properly again. My overall fitness improved enormously, yet I only spent around 10 minutes with the ball each day. Since then Iâ€™ve used other pieces of exercise equipment, but the exercise ball is still my favorite.
Best of all, my big blue ball was, and is (Iâ€™m on my third) an excellent chair. As you sit you have to keep moving to stay balanced, after a while you do it without thinking, which makes it seem effortless, even though itâ€™s not.
The sunny exercise ball comes in three sizes, so whether youâ€™re really short (like me) or really tall thereâ€™s one the ideal size for you, and if you havenâ€™t a clue how to use it, donâ€™t worry it comes with full instructions.