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Hendrick Health offers helpful hints when walking on snow or ice

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Hendrick Health offers helpful hints when walking on snow or ice

The combination of freezing temperatures and precipitation this winter season can make walking outdoors challenging. Emergency department visits for outdoor falls increase in the winter months, generally due to weather-related factors.

To help decrease the chances of tumbling while walking in the icy outdoors, consider the following practical suggestions:

•  Allocate extra time to slow down. Give yourself extra time to reach your destination. And, avoid brisk walking as it can increase the chances of slipping.
•  Plan your route. Choose paths that are well maintained and less icy, if possible.
•  Don’t carry too much. Keep your hands and arms free to maintain balance.
•  Wear appropriate footwear. Choose winter boots or shoes with good traction, insulation and ankle support. Non-slip soles also are helpful.
•  Take small steps. Walk with short, shuffling steps to maintain balance and stability.
•  Walk like a penguin. Spread your feet slightly apart and point your toes slightly outward to improve balance.
•  Watch for black ice. Be particularly cautious when you see areas that appear wet but are actually black ice.
•  Keep an eye on the ground. Watch for changes in texture or uneven surfaces.
•  Be cautious on stairs. When climbing or descending stairs, use the handrail and take one step at a time.