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When you sit on a yoga ball of the correct size, your knees will bend 90 degrees.
A yoga ball is an excellent addition to any home gym; you can use it for stretching, as a makeshift weight bench, or even use it in place of an office chair. All yoga balls gradually lose air over time, though, and shrink as they do so. No matter how well you treat your yoga ball, you'll eventually need to add a little extra air to bring it back up to size.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends checking your yoga ball's inflation on a regular basis, but doesn't specify exactly how often that means. So every time you sit on your ball, be alert for clues it might need a little air. Those include sitting a little lower than you expect, feeling softer to the touch, or even looking visibly smaller.
If you suspect it's time to add a little air but aren't sure, place the ball against a wall. Place a box on the other side of the ball and measure the distance from wall to box. If that measurement is less than the ball's "designated" diameter -- which is always marked on the ball's original packaging and almost always printed on the ball itself -- it's time to add some air.
The Right Pump
You can use just about any pump to re-inflate a yoga ball. A bicycle pump, a home air compressor or a gas-station air compressor all work, although in most cases you need a cone-shaped adapter to get the air into the ball efficiently. Sometimes a specialized pump -- usually a foot pump -- comes with your yoga ball; these pumps usually don't require an adapter. You might also have received cone adapters with the yoga ball. If you previously tucked those skinny, funny-looking plastic cones away, now's the time to dig them out.
Set a Target
Before you start inflating your yoga ball, set a clear visual target so you'll know when it's fully inflated. Consult the ball's original packaging -- or look for markings on the ball itself -- to determine its proper inflated diameter, usually marked in centimeters. Measure and mark that distance up from the floor on a wall, using a pencil, or place a box the requisite distance from the wall. Once the ball's highest point is as tall as the penciled mark, or once it's wide enough to touch both wall and box, you'll know it's fully inflated.
Pull the Plug
Every yoga ball has a single air hole and a stopper that seats firmly in said hole. A spoon is the safest tool for removing that stopper without damaging the ball. Place the convex side of the spoon against the ball, work the spoon's edge beneath the stopper, and gently wiggle the stopper out. You might need to work your way around the stopper, working it out from a couple of different angles -- but it'll come in short order.
Air will start leaking from your ball as soon as you pull the plug, so insert the pump nozzle -- or cone adaptor -- right away and start adding air. Keep the plug nearby so that as soon as the ball is full, you can remove the pump nozzle and insert the plug. Make sure the replaced plug seats firmly and flush with the ball's surface.
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