Playground Ball: Now for Adults
Remember the big red playground ball you played with at school as a kid? I bet you thought it was just for elementary school kids. But the truth is that those red rubber balls are great for adults as well as kids and can be used for a variety of purposes, including socializing, physical therapy, and fun with pets.
Fun and games – and good exercise – for adults
We all know how important it is to find ways of relieving stress in today’s fast paced world and that sports activities and socializing top this list. And when you can combine the two with a playground ball then you double the fun and health benefits for you and your friends.
One great way to have fun and stay active with a playground ball is adult kickball. You may have heard of Club WAKA – an organization running the most fun and social co-ed adult kickball leagues across America. It is not about true competition. It is about fun and improved health and agility through ball play for adults.
Another fun activity for adults you can participate in with a playground ball is dodge ball, also organized by Club WAKA in many cities. Although traditionally a kids’ game, dodge ball is great for adults because it promotes healthy and fun competition while allowing us to leave behind our troubles at work and improve our cardiovascular health at the same time.
In fact, there is a whole list of benefits these types of games have for adults. Here are just some of them we hope motivate you to get out there and play ball:
- Regular play is a gateway to vitality. It gives the immune system a boost and generates optimism.
- Games make perseverance fun and allow you to develop and practice mastering new skills.
- Playful interactions produce a climate for easy connection and a deepening, more rewarding personal and social relationship between kids and adults alike
- Refreshing, oxygenating activity does not only make you feel good all over (as it triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones), it also keeps you feeling young and energetic.
- Like any exercise, exercise with a playground ball improves one’s memory and brain function in general. However, ball play has also been shown to put you in a more relaxed mood, which in turn makes you more creative, productive, and motivated.
Quality time with your pet
And if you are a pet owner don’t forget how useful a playground ball is here. You can play throw and fetch with your favorite furry pal. And I am sure you’ve heard of training dogs to play soccer. With a little help from Youtube videos, you can add this activity to your playtime with your dog.
Uses of the playground ball in physical therapy
Let’s face it. Whether you sit or stand for long hours at work it can result in lower back and/or knee pain. Playing sports through fun and in so many ways beneficial to your health can also lead to injuries. And something as simple as a playground ball can help you alleviate your pain and discomfort and get you back on your feet sooner rather than later through regular physical therapy exercises. Balls, are tools often used in exercise, physical therapy, athletic training, and other ways to benefit the body by becoming stronger. They can also help develop gross motor skills, postural stability, and bilateral coordination.
Here is an example of a physical therapy exercise with a playground ball when recovering from knee injuries:
Single leg squats
Stand sideways parallel to a wall with a ball between your left hip and the wall and do several repetitions of squats switching sides.
Lifting objects is a frequent cause of low back injury and muscle strain, and here are examples of exercises with balls that can be a useful tool in teaching ergonomics – proper body mechanics and posture – while lifting:
Place your ball against a wall at the small of the back, spreading feet shoulder width apart and 1 to 2 feet in front of hips
With hands on hips and knees bent slightly squat down half way without leaning back into the playground ball, but letting the ball guide the position of the back. Knees should not extend over toes. Return to standing. Repeat 5 times.
Increase difficulty by holding squat for 10 seconds.
Stroke and disability
Playground balls have proven an excellent tool in physical treatments with patients recovering from a stroke or serious accidents and are faced with tactile challenges. Occupational therapists especially recommend using playground balls whose surfaces are textured as throwing the ball back and forth prompts the patient to catch it using his/her fingers.
So as you can see in case you don’t have a playground ball lying around the house purchasing one may not only provide you with hours of fun and effective exercise, but may also help you or a loved one recover.