I was given one of those exercise balls this year — or fitness balls, gym balls, whatever you want to call those round inflatable pieces of exercise equipment.

Being more into walking than doing calisthenics and gymnastic moves by way of exercise, I wasn’t sure quite what to do with it, or whether it was something I’d ever use.

Then the neighbour’s grandhildren, bouncing off walls with cabin fever after a sedentary chocolate-filled week at Grandma’s house, came over for the afternoon…

fitness ball

I got out the exercise ball and the bicycle pump that conveniently came with it. See, a run of cold stormy weather over the holidays had kept the kids, aged 8 and 10, from doing anything more athletic than bickering over the DVD player for several days. So, after the little darlings had blown off some energy in blowing up the giant ball, we let the games begin!

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What fun can you have with an exercise ball?

Now, any average hyperactive kid will have no trouble at all with coming up with games to play if you give them a novelty item like an exercise ball which they don’t have at home. It reminds me very much of the games we neighbourhood kids used to invent, years back, with nothing more elaborate than a cardboard box…

Workout blues

Our gang came up with enough games for two full hours of healthy aerobic exercise — Belly Ball Time Trial Races was the most popular — how far could each of them travel by gym ball, down the hallway, without their feet touching the floor or hands touching the walls?

That was followed by Gym Ball Gladiator, a short game because some of my finer furniture seemed to be at risk, and then the more successful Gym Ball Head Hockey game. This game consists of having both kids on their hands and knees, moving the ball with only their heads, trying to get it across masking-tape goal lines marked out on the kitchen floor. It works because the ball is too large for the kids to see over or around, so they were shooting blind — and laughing so hard that they could hardly aim the thing.

Maria playing with my exercise ball

Meanwhile, all that I had to do, as the on-site responsible adult, was put the dogs safely outdoors, make sure the kids didn’t crash into anything particularly valuable, and brew myself a nice soothing cup of herb tea.

By the time I sent them back to their grandmother’s house, my wild young visitors were well tired out and in a much happier frame of mind. Do you suppose that the manufacturers of the gym ball have any idea how versatile a piece of exercise equipment it can be??

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Kailani

    Thank you for sharing that great story! Can I send my kids over, too?

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