The medicine ball ? My new best friend | Senior Focus | Max Greenberg | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

Senior Focus

By Max Greenberg

E-mail Max Greenberg

About this blog: I developed a special interest in helping seniors with their challenges and transitions when my dad had a stroke and I helped him through all the various stages of downsizing, packing, moving and finding an assisted living communi...  (More)

View all posts from Max Greenberg

The medicine ball ? My new best friend

Uploaded: Dec 7, 2013
From Wikipedia: A medicine ball (also known as an exercise ball, a med ball, or a fitness ball) is a weighted ball roughly the diameter of the shoulders (approx. 13.7 inches), and is often used for rehabilitation and strength training. The medicine ball also serves an important role in the field of sports medicine. However, it should not be confused with the larger, inflated exercise ball. Medicine balls are usually sold as 2?25 lb (0.91?11 kg) balls and are used effectively in weight training to increase explosive power in athletes in all sports. Some medicine balls are in the form of weighted basketballs.

History of the Medicine Ball
The earliest documented use of the medicine ball dates back almost 3,000 years ago, when Persian wrestlers trained with bladders that were filled with sand. Later on, in the time of ancient Greece, famous physician Hippocrates stuffed animal skins with sand to create medicine balls. As part of his injury rehabilitation therapy, his patients were ordered to throw the balls back and forth. In the late 19th century, the words "medicine" and "health" became synonymous, and the medicine ball was used for promoting health. It became one of the "4 Horsemen of Fitness," which also included the dumbbell, the wand and the Indian club. This marked the origin of the modern medicine ball. (

I love the medicine ball. The Ross Rd YMCA has four, from 2 lbs to 12 lbs. I started watching youtube videos (Jeff Cavaliere has a good one at to see how to best use them and got hooked, so I just bought one at Big5 for $34 (a 10 pounder.) They are a very effective, easy to use, relatively inexpensive piece of exercise equipment that can help you in many areas of body health and fitness. Just be careful not to drop it on your foot. I think they are a lot safer than using weights and even weight machines, and can be very effective. More or less the size of a basketball or volleyball, depending on the weight. They take up little space in your house. I keep it in the living room. If I'm watching TV I can do a little work out with the ball.

Start with a light weight, maybe 4 or 6 lbs. You can even make your own: if you have an old basketball, you can slice it and fill it with sand, then duct-tape it closed. Some med balls are rubbery, heavy dodgeball type of balls, others can be somewhat soft, others have built in handles. There are some great exercises couples can do with it, back to back, where they twist and hand the ball back and forth to each other. Great abs workout. Love that medicine ball?
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Dec 8, 2013 at 9:18 pm

> But, you know, no one is forcing us to buy and consume processed foods, fast foods, sodas, non-foods etc.

No one is forcing you to become obese ... yet when the choices you have on what to eat are so bad it's hard not to, and most people end up obese because to get enough nutrition to survive it is hard to avoid the calories stuck to them to ensure customer and brand loyalty and brainwash to palette to find most natural foods bland and boring.

When you talk about "forcing" people towards certain behaviors ... for example. They have done studies where if you are read a paragraph with words associated with aging, old people, you will walk out of the testing office on average slower. Where does "force" or "free will" even enter in to this kind of discussion.

On a positive note there is a table called the ANDI scale, Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, basically a rating of nutrition per calorie or different foods to give people an idea of what packs a lot of nutrition and what packs a lot of "empty calories".

Here is a link to the creator of the ANDI scale: Web Link

Here are some common food's ANDI scores:

Kale 1000
Collard_Greens 1000
Mustard_Greens 1000
Watercress 1000
Swiss_Chard 895
Bok_Choy 865
Spinach 707
Arugula 604
Romaine 510
Brussels_Sprouts 490
Carrots 458
Cabbage 434
Broccoli 340
Cauliflower 315
Bell_Peppers 265
Asparagus 205
Mushrooms 238
Tomato 186
Strawberries 182
Sweet_Potato 181
Zucchini 164
Artichoke 145
Blueberries 132
Iceburg_Lettuce 127
Grapes 119
Pomegranates 119
Cantaloupe 118
Onions 109
Flax_Seeds 103
Orange 98
Edamame 98
Cucumber 87
Tofu 82
Sesame_Seeds 74
Lentils 72
Peaches 65
Sunflower_Seeds 64
Kidney_Beans 64
Green_Peas 63
(This list has been shortened due to space limitations.)

Posted by Max Greenberg, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 9, 2013 at 7:57 am

Max Greenberg is a registered user.

Thanks for your comment CrescentParkAnon. I do feel when it comes down to it, no one is forcing us (Adults) to buy and consume processed foods, fast foods, sodas, non-foods etc. But the massive food industry is doing their best to try to force us. The group that is more or less actually being forced are kids. From infancy they are introduced, often by their parents, to sugar and sweetened foods. They soon learn that "good behaviour" gets rewarded with sugar. When not performing up to their parent's (or teachers or coaches" expectations), those rewards are with-held. Check out that pizza party your kid's soccer team is having at the end of the season (after everyone gets a participation trophy no matter what their individual level of effort was - I'll be writing about that misguided practice shortly.)

I'm one of those foolish parents that let one of my infants fall asleep with a little baby bottle of apple juice to stop the crying and get some sleep. Of course that led to early teeth problems and a craving for the sweet stuff. We are both paying for it now, 20 years later.

So we parents (teachers and coaches) have a huge responsibility to our kids to not condemn them to possibly a life-time of craving sweets (not to mention fried, oily, salty foods.) Once we do become aware as adults that we do have a problem with staying away from those foods through sheer will-power alone, there is support out there to help us deal with our relationship with food, and their is plenty of food out there that is healthy, easy to access, and available to most everyone. It takes an effort to make the switch and keep it up one day at a time, but if you break it down into just that, one day at a time, it is doable.

Posted by Steven, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Hi Max,
I was just googling 'indian club exercise palo alto' and this column came up. What a nice coincidence! The reason I was checking those search results is that I teach Indian clubs and wanted to see how well my website ranked(pretty good).

If you or anyone else is interested, I use clubs in my personal training and also offer occasional workshops. My page on clubs is: Web Link


Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Analysis/paralysis: The infamous ‘Palo Alto Process’ must go
By Diana Diamond | 6 comments | 2,119 views

Common Ground
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 1,667 views

The Time and Cost Savings of Avoiding a Long Commute
By Steve Levy | 5 comments | 1,526 views

Planting a Fall Garden?
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 971 views


Sign-up now for 5K Run/Walk, 10k Run, Half Marathon

The 39th annual Moonlight Run and Walk is Friday evening, September 29. Join us under the light of the full Harvest Moon on a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon. Complete your race in person or virtually. Proceeds from the race go to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, benefiting local nonprofits that serve families and children in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.