Slipping and falling on the ice results in countless injures and fractures every winter. Here are a couple of simple ways to improve your balance and reduce your fall risk.
When most people think of balance, they think of the foot and ankle doing most of the work, however, the ability of your hip and trunk muscles to quickly react are equally as important.
A great way to improve the reaction time of the hip and trunk is to assume a 1/2 kneeling posture, kneeling on one knee with the opposite foot out in front flat on the floor. Stay tall and try bringing your front foot to align with your down knee. This is a difficult move and you may need to start with a wider base of support to be successful.
Once you find a position that you can balance in, but also feel challenged, hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.
As you improve, move to single leg balance. To activate the muscles of the hip and core while doing single leg balance, pull on a band bringing hands to hips, stay tall, and balance for 10 seconds on each leg. Bringing the knee higher increases the challenge but not to the point that your posture suffers so stop when the thigh is parallel to the floor as in the picture below.
To increase the challenge, simply face away from the band and pull forward. Continue to emphasize a tall posture, and alternate balancing 10 seconds on each leg. Usually 5-6 repetitions on each leg is plenty.
These are two simple, yet challenging exercises you can do right from home so take a little extra time to perfect your balance and stay safe through the ice and snow this winter.
To catch the PT minute featuring Fall Prevention and Balance, click here: PT minute 3 – Balance