Oh, the weather outside is frightful! But what do we expect, right? It is January in Boston!
Of course, snowy and icy conditions can make even basic things—like walking outside—hazardous to our health. Our pelvic floor physical therapists see an increase in tailbone and hip injuries every winter due to people falling on icy driveways, roads, and sidewalks. Ouch!
The good news? You can protect yourself!
Balance training lowers your chances of a nasty fall that could lead to traumatic pelvic injury.
So how do you train and improve your balance? Simply by challenging it! We've invited Dr. Tonya Yanok, one of our fabulous pelvic floor physical therapists, to share some of her favorite pelvic floor stability exercises.
Reminder: Before embarking on any new exercise regimen, check with your doctor. The information in this article is intended to be educational only. Always consult a physician regarding your specific medical needs.
1. Pelvic Stability Exercises: Single Leg Balance
DR. YANOK: Here's one of my quickest and easiest ways to improve balance. Simply stand nice and tall, keeping your hips and shoulders level and stacked on top of another. Keep your arms by your side. Then, tighten your core, lift your right foot about four to six inches off the ground, and hold for 30 seconds.
You might need to start out holding on to a counter or heavy chair, and this is perfectly OK. Remember, the goal is to improve your balance. So start where you are and build from there.
After you do the right foot, do the same thing with the left. Repeat three times a day.
If lifting your foot is too difficult, try putting a toe down gently to add a little more stability until you can work your way to picking your foot off the ground. Seems simple, but this could save you a literal pain in the butt!
2. Pelvic Stability Exercises: Side Stepping with Resistance Band
DR. YANOK: With a resistance band around your lower legs (around your calves, so about four to six inches below your knee caps), stand up straight, bend your arms at your elbows (see pic below), tighten your core, and step to the side until your feet are a little more than shoulder width apart. Take three steps to the right. Then, take three steps to the left. Repeat 10 times.
3. Pelvic Stability Exercises: Mini Squats
DR. YANOK: Mini squats are exactly that—squatting halfway down (to a chair, if that helps!) and then back up. Tighten your core on the way down and make sure you can still see your toes (in other words, don't let your knees go way out over your toes—this will help protect your knees). Repeat 10 times a day.
Remember, when it comes to squats, focus on form first, rather than speed. It's better to do a well-formed, well-paced squat rather than speedy squats with lousy form!
Need help mastering these pelvic floor stability exercises—or learning others?
Get a program designed for your specific health needs. Make an appointment with one of our pelvic floor physical therapists.