Ice Skating or Ice Sliding?
It’s that time of year when the weather changes, and you may fear going out and slipping on the ice. Balance is a major concern, especially in the winter months. So how can you prevent unintentional ice skating?
Surprisingly, some of the main muscles involved with balance have nothing to do with your feet but with your hips. A group of muscles on the outside of your upper hip helps to maintain stability when you balance. These muscles often turn into marshmallows that do not provide the support your body needs when you balance on one leg (as in walking) or when something throws off your balance.
What to Do
Here’s a common exercise to strengthen these muscles. As shown in the image below, lie on your left side with your knees bent and hips stacked. Support your head so it doesn’t hang down.
Put your right hand on top of your outer right hip. Focus on the muscles under your hand as you slowly lift your right knee, keeping your feet together. You should feel the muscle firm or tighten as you open your knee. Lift your knee using the muscles under your hand, not your knee itself.
Slowly lower your knee. Repeat this movement 10 times and then switch sides, lying on your right side. Doing the movement slowly and mindfully while keeping your hips stacked will strengthen these important outer, upper hip muscles.
Don’t Slip Up!
Here are some tips to stay safe in icy conditions:
- Falls often happen in places where you feel safe, such as just outside your front door or door step so pay extra attention in familiar locations.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Nonslip soles with grooves provide extra traction. Stay warm, but don’t impair your vision with hoods, masks or scarves.
- Keep your hands out of your pockets and your arms slightly out by your sides to break any fall.
- Bend your knees slightly and take slower, shorter steps.
- Walk like a penguin! Turn your feet out to the sides a little and lean forward slightly to shift your center of gravity over your front-facing foot.
- Allow extra time to get where you need to go.