A Gym ball exercise routine is a great way to improve your balance. If provided with the correct exercises, they can challenge almost every “problem area” for a stroke survivor. The main areas that are problematic after a stroke are steadiness, symmetry, and dynamic stability. All three of these areas can be improved with a gym ball.
1. Trunk Rotation Exercise for dynamic stability
With your legs resting on the ball, rotate your knees side to side. Try not to let your legs fall off the ball. If you have difficulty with dynamic stability, this may be a challenge. If your legs want to fall off the ball, start with a small movement (side to side). As you develop better trunk control you will be able to make this side to side movement bigger.
2. Double knee to chest exercise for symmetry
Again, start with your legs resting on the ball and your knees straight. Now, pull your knees into your chest. If symmetry is one of your balance problems, the ball might not roll in a straight line toward your bottom. Pay close attention that the ball rolls straight toward you and it does not roll off to one side. This will help you to improve your balance “symmetry”
3. Hip Extension (progression one) for symmetry
This exercise is designed to improve symmetry. Start with your legs straight on the ball. Lift your hips up. If you have difficulty with balance “symmetry” you may have a tendency for the ball to roll to one side. Try and keep the ball very still as you lift and lower your hips.
4. Hip extension (progression two) for balance symmetry and steadiness
This is a more advance version of hip extension. For this one, you will point your arms up toward the sky. This will focus more attention on the muscles in the core that help to keep your body centered over your feet in standing (symmetry). Focusing on keeping the ball still without the added assistance from the arms will help you to improve your dyanamic stability