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  • Dr. Lesa Lawson

Core Muscle Strength - Is There a Pill?

Looks pretty easy, doesn't it? Sit on an exercise ball. Sure, I do it from time to time, at home, more so, when I graded papers. I thought my core muscles must be really strong after all that. The moment of shame came last week.

My physical therapist went into a corner of his treatment room and returned, bouncing a white exercise ball. Knowing where he was going, I sized it up and thought, "Piece a cake! My ball at home is much bigger!" Thankfully, I didn't say this out loud. The PT sat on the ball (the thing wasn't even fully inflated - how hard can this be?) and told me to make sure that the ball did not move while I raised my leg in the air, with my hands on my thighs.

Oh, the utter embarrassment when I sat on the rounded offender. The ball and I could not agree, and if you know anything about me, you know that there was no way that I was going to hit that carpet where shoes and other things have trodden. I digress... For five minutes (it seemed like an hour), I tried to keep that silly ball under my bum but it had other ideas. In an attempt to inject humor, I said, "Oh, I guess this is a balancing issue." He said, "No, this is a core strength issue." At that point, I had to acknowledge that I must not have been born with any!

Yes, I know better but I could not believe how something so simple could prove so... er.. unstable. You know I had homework to do.

Frustration aside, this is a really great exercise. It's great for the back and stomach and just makes me sit taller. My torso lengthens or at least, it feels that way. I realize that I was not focusing on this during all my grading times. I even cheated sometimes and braced the ball against the sofa to prevent it from moving. The other issue is that my exercise ball is a tad big for me. When it's fully inflated, my feet do not reach the floor entirely.

Have you ever done this exercise? How did you do? Are you a master or a minion, as I am (not for long)? Have you good tips for battling the ball? I'll take them!

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