Candace Karu

Friday Fit Tips

Fitness, HealthCandace

My love for television cannot be hidden or denied. In my house the TV is right out there in the open, not secreted behind the doors of a fancy cabinet or disguised as a work of art. And while I don't watch it a lot, I do have my favorites – Damages, Mad Men, Weeds, and just about anything onHGTV come immediately to mind. I do however, have a difficult time just sitting and staring; it makes me feel sluggish and, well, not a little guilty. I also have a bad case of what the Jews call schpilkes, what my mother called ants in my pants. The answer to my problem? Telecise! OK, I just made that up, but it's a genius concept -- trust me. Exercising while watching TV is a multi-tasking, Type A personality's dream solution. For even the most committed couch commanders, a few minutes getting fit while watching the 12th inning of the Red Sox-Yankees game couldn't hurt. I mean, really, you're just sitting there. Why not... woman on fitness ball

...grab your balls and Telecise!

My big ball is about my favorite piece of home fitness equipment. It is inexpensive, practically indestructible, and it lends itself to an almost endless variety of strength and core fitness workouts. For those of you with low back issues who have trouble sitting for any length of time, a ball makes a comfortable and ergonomically sound desk chair.

Over the years I have developed several 15 – 20 minute routines on the ball, mostly concentrating on core and upper body strength. At night, I sit on my ball in front of the TV and work out. I vary the routines, so that the major muscle groups do not get used to any one workout. The right series of exercises that work for you is as close as your keyboard. You can Google "exercise ball workouts" and see a variety of illustrated exercises, with both photographs and video. This seven-minute routine I found on YouTube shows one trainer’s top 10 stability ball exercises. It’s easy to follow and an easy way to get started.

And, really, why wouldn't you? In the course of one Friends rerun or the first half of Lost, you could be on your way to a more toned, stable, and sleek physique.

Exercise balls, stability balls, Swiss balls, strength balls – a ball by any other name would still provide a kick-ass workout. In addition to helping you increase strength, flexibility, and balance, your ball will help you maintain proper proprioception – the awareness of your body in relation to space – which diminishes as we age. You'll  strengthen your core and target major and minor muscle groups, and working with a fitness ball will keep the proprioceptors in your muscles and tendons youthful and fit – just like you!