“ Brand: Sainsbury's / Type: Silver inflatable gym ball / Swiss ball „
DEEP BREATH Despite being a gym-bunny at university, I've found it harder and harder to get motivated to go out and exercise over the last few years. Exercising at home is a lot less painful, both psychologically and financially, so I've accumulated a few bits and pieces of fitness equipment over the past few years. Several doctors have told me that I should cut down on high-impact workouts because of my increasingly dodgy joints, and so I've started trying more low-impact options such as Pilates and yoga. A gym ball is an important piece of equipment for Pilates so after trying out a friend's I decided to pick up one the next time I saw one on offer. Lo and behold, on a weekly grocery shop in Sainsbury's, I found an own-brand ball for around £8. ADJUST YOUR POSTURE My ball is blue, rather than the silver shown, and I believe they come in a few other colour options. Being a very ungirly-girl I chose the blue. The ball came with a pump and a leaflet, containing minimal instructions. Like other reviewers, I found the leaflet next-to-useless, but the pump was good, and I've used it since to inflate beach toys with great success. The ball itself is made of a thick, rubbery plastic which is quite sticky to the touch, and to this day it picks up fibres from my carpet. I wipe it over regularly with an antibacterial wipe to keep it hygienic, and that keeps the dust-bunnies under control. The stopper in the base of the ball is a fiddle-faddle to remove - I've nearly sacrificed a nail to it on several occasions when I've had to top-up the air inside. HOLD... Inflating the ball for the first time was hard work and took several minutes. I had to take a couple of breaks, so perhaps I wasn't as fit as I initially thought! It actually took quite a while to get the inflation level right. The instructor on my Pilates DVD stated that the ball is at the right level of inflation when you can sit on it and keep your feet on the floor with your knees at 90 degrees. I had to pull out the wretched stopper, quickly stop the airflow and pump it up a little more several times. Once I finally had it to the right level of inflation I'm pleased to report that it stays there for several months, despite being used 2-3 times a week. I've had to top up the air just once or twice over the best part o a year. I use it for a 30 minute Pilates workout (when I have the energy) but, most of the time I use it as my seat when I'm playing console computer games. I find that even sitting on it passively for an hour or so gives my core muscles a good workout as I'm constantly readjusting my pose. ...AND RELAX Deflating this ball isn't very difficult but isn't something I'd like to do regularly as the stopper isn't very sturdy. I've only deflated and reinflated it a couple of times - when we'e had a guest in the spare room I store it in. However, this gym ball has been a good purchase and has met my needs for a piece of exercise equipment. Using it as a seat for gaming has been an unexpected bonus.
I bought this gym ball around two years ago and it's been a great buy, I'm not into exercise too much but have a few pieces of equipment at home for the days when I can be bothered to work up a bit of a sweat - the ball being used occasionally as part of my (infrequent) routine. It comes flat (thank god or it would never have fitted in the trolley!) and I paid around the £4 mark for it, although the price has since shot up to £13. Inside the box was the PVC ball, a small and quite flimsy pump and a pathetically basic instruction manual - the manual went straight into the bin with the ripped up box, and to be honest the pump followed them pretty quickly as I realised Mark's electric pump would fit the valve in the ball perfectly and stop me having to stress my arm muscles with the manual pump! Once inflated the ball has a diameter of 55cm, which is actually bigger than I thought it would be based on the photo on the box - the model must have been about 10ft tall as the ball looked quite small! It pumps up to a hard texture and the valve cap is extra easy to pop into place to prevent the ball deflating after taking the pump out before you've even used it. My exercise ball looks slightly different to the one above, it's pink for a start and the whole surface is covered in raised lines which run the circumference of the ball. This is actually quite useful as it makes the whole thing far less slippy and enables you to grip the ball better when using it for press-ups (yeah, right) or arm work. I'm not going to tell you how to use the ball for two reasons; a) it's kinda obvious and b) everyone will have different needs and exercises they want to do so it makes sense for you to get a ball and faff around with it yourself. What I *will* say is that Sainsbury's don't give any exercise routines in the instruction manual so make sure you've checked online or at a gym to see if this ball will be suitable for what you're hoping to use it for. It keeps the air in well, I think I've only had to top it up three or four times since I bought it - I know I said I only use it occasionally but this ball has someone sitting or bouncing around on it quite regularly as the kids love it so I think that proves the valve is reliable. It has some signs of scuffing now but this isn't an issue and I definitely don't plan to replace the ball just because it's looking a bit grubby - anyway, a lot of these balls deflate really easily so being as I've found a good one I plan to stick to it for as long as possible! In big red letters on the box I remember it saying 'Not to be used as a birthing ball', now at the time there were no more babies on the horizon in the chrisandmark household - but when I found myself in labour thirteen months or so after purchase I hopped onto the ball and bounced around for a while and it didn't damage either myself (although I was feeling pretty damaged already by that point!) or baby. I don't get the whole birthing ball thing really so didn't spend much time on it before deciding to go to the hospital, but I can't see why Sainsbury's would stress the fact that labouring ladies shouldn't use it - presumably it's due to a no-compensation issue should you fall off the ball and injure yourself or baby. Overall I think this is a great exercise ball. Storage can be a problem as it's so damned bulky, before purchasing look around your home and make sure there is somewhere that this large ball can go when not in use - the last thing you want is to have to keep it in the middle of the living room floor!
I had been reading in a magazine about the range of exercises and benefits you can get by using a gym ball. I was a bit sceptical as I associated gym balls with light exercise and my routine is pretty intensive. But I bought this ball from the local supermarket and it has added a new dimension to my routines and really helped me along and for anyone with any level of interest in the home exercise industry. This ball appealed to me as it cost only £3.99. This is cheap compared to other brands and what you get here is not a cheap version of better balls but a ball which rivals any others I have since used in the gym. As with all gym balls this comes flat packed and you need to inflate it. This is a breeze and takes no more than 3-4 minutes with the supplied pump. Its really hard to inflate it using sheer lung power so rely on the pump supplied and you will be up and running in no time. You need to be careful not to over inflate or under inflate but you just need to get a level where there is a small amount of give. The plastically material this is made out of is thick, durable and tough. You don't need to worry about the tiniest thing puncturing it as it has been designed with home use in mind. Obviously you still need to take care with the item to make sure there is nothing too sharp about but general use in a clean floor space is easy. Supplied is a exercise chart to give you ideas but a quick search online and you will find tons more so in no time you will be working muscles you never though you had. All because you introduced a gym ball into your routine. Once inflated this stays inflated with a strong holding power for some time and you don't have to keep refilling it with air as the valve is tight and solid. All in all this is a high quality, cheap and value packed gym ball. Why pay more I say when you can get this for £4 with a pump and the £4 you spend on it will be some of the best value you can get in terms of helping your routines!
I've never been a big fan of 'structured' exercise- what's the point of paying to go to the gym when you could burn just as many calories dancing on a night out, or going on a huge shopping marathon?! That said, I do own a few pieces of very inexpensive sports equipment to help me with different kinds of exercise at home, and this gym ball is one of them. I came across it in Sainsburys last year, for the bargain price of £3.99, and I just couldn't pass up on such a good offer! Besides, I was sure it would come in useful- gym balls are great for improving balance and core strength (with the added advantage of being fun to roll around on!). So, into the trolley it went. When I got it home, I was faced with the problem of inflating the saggy piece of silver PVC that would become my gym ball. After realising that it would take an awful lot of lung power to blow it up myself, I resorted to using a bicycle pump. This was tricky however, as there was nothing to attach the end of the pump to- I had to insert it directly into the hole in the plastic, and try to hold the plastic tight around it while pumping at the same time. This was very fiddly, and meant that the ball took a long time, and a lot of effort to inflate. Fortunately, Sainsburys are now providing a pump with the ball, which I'd imagine would make things a lot easier. The inclusion of the pump has raised the price by a few pounds, but at the moment it's on special offer for £3.99, so it's worth getting it soon. The instructions stated that you should inflate the ball till it was firm, but with a little give. Once I'd reached that point, a stopper was provided to block the hole and prevent any air escaping. This was easy to insert, and, I'm happy to say, has stayed firmly in place ever since, meaning that although the ball is slightly squidgier than when I first inflated it, I haven't had to reinflate it at all. Once it's inflated, this ball is pretty big- 65cm in diameter- standard for a gym ball, but these things always look bigger than you expect when you see them in the context of your own home! There's no hiding it away in a corner of the room, but its dull silver colour does at least make it a little less intrusive than a brighter shade might. The ball is very strong and durable, and my initial fears that it might pop were soon allayed after seeing it withstand even my most vigorous exercises! Several ridged rings run around the circumference of the ball- I'm not sure what the purpose of these is, but I think it could be to help with grip. Being spherical, the ball is obviously going to roll around, but its rubbery surface means that it won't slide out from under you in the middle of your exercises. The box this ball came in also contained an information leaflet which was mainly dedicated to ideas for exercises, complete with diagrams. There were some handy hints in here about ways to use the ball to work different parts of your body, but I found the diagrams quite unclear, and was never sure if I was doing the movements exactly as I should be. In the end, I ditched the leaflet altogether, and resorted to making up my own movements, the theory being that if they were difficult enough, they must be doing some good! These include using the ball for sit-ups, and also kneeling on top of it, using my core muscles to balance. One of the good things about this ball is its versatility- you can use it energetically or in a more relaxed way, depending on how hard you want to work. I'm very pleased I bought this gym ball- it's proved very useful to have at home, and whenever my friends are round, someone always ends up bouncing around on it! In terms of quality, it's fine- having had it for over a year, I can vouch for its durability. The only problem I had with it, the difficulty of inflating it, has now been resolved thanks to the inclusion of a pump. All in all, this was a great buy, particularly given its low price.