Winter brings along one serious danger to ladies and their cute shoes everywhere – ice. Even in sensible shoes with good traction, ice can make your short walk to class a slippery disaster. So to help prevent you from falling over and spilling the contents of your bag all over the sidewalk, I’ve put together some simple balance exercises.
These moves are great overall strengtheners for your core and legs, but focus especially on the gluteus medius muscle. The gluteus medius is located on the side of your hip joint, attaching your femur bone to your pelvis. This is the muscle that does most of the work when you’re standing on one leg. You need this muscle much more than you realize, because you stand on one leg for a split second each time you take a step. Read on for some exercises that will have you navigating the ice like a graceful skater this winter.
1. Single Leg Balance
Start off by standing on one leg to practice your balance. Sounds so simple, right? You’ll soon find that isn’t the case. Stand on one leg for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat. You will most likely have one side that is more difficult for you, so be patient.
2. Toe/Heel Taps
Begin standing on your right leg, just like in the first exercise. Then bend your right knee and extend your left leg out in front of you, to tap the floor 10 times. (You can tap with your heel or your toe – it’s up to you.) Then return to the starting position. Bend your right knee, extend your left leg to the side, and tap the floor 10 times. Repeat this pattern, now tapping the floor straight behind you 10 times. Repeat the full sequence on the other leg.
3. Side Leg Lifts
Begin standing on your right leg. Keeping your left leg straight, lift it up a few inches straight to the side, and lower it again. Do not place your left foot on the floor! Lift and lower your leg 30 times, trying to maintain your balance on a single foot. Repeat this on the other leg.