The origin of the swiss ball (also described as a 'fit ball'), dates back to 1963, where an Italian plastics manufacturer started production for use within physiotherapy treatment programs in Switzerland (hence the name 'Swiss' balls). Their use became increasingly featured in physcial therapy for treaing orthopedic and medical problems and in the last decade they have been massively incorporated into athletic training for all sports and as part of general fitness training for quality of life. It has also been intergrated into alternative forms of exercise like yoga and pilates and appears to have secured itself as a cornerstone within the health and fitness industry.
Swiss ball training is classed under the category of 'functional stability training' – along with other balance tools such as Bosu Balls, stability discs, single leg training and power plates.
The whole concept of the Swiss ball is to create an unstable environment. In doing this, more demand is placed on the body as it tries to achieve stability, forcing it to use smaller stabilising muscles. In a nutshell, instability provides an increased challenge for the body, which results in increased benefits.
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Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.