Walk like a penguin

penguin on ice, walk like a penguin, preventing falls, walk flat footed, brain injury from fall, keeping your balance

Winter weather can be beautiful, but it can also be dangerous. Just like adjusting to driving on the snow and ice, we need to remember how to walk on the snow and ice. A fall on snow or ice can be embarrassing, but also harmful. Falls are the number one reason for brain injuries, not to mention what a fall can do to your bones and the rest of your body.

Penguins are seasoned veterans walking on snow and ice. Maybe we could learn something from them. Spreading your feet out slightly— like a penguin— while walking on ice increases your stability. When we walk, our legs’ ability to support our weight is split mid-stride. To walk on ice, keep your center of gravity over your front leg.

To walk like a penguin, do the following:

  • Bend slightly and walk flat-footed, not heel, toe, heel, toe. Putting your weight on your heel on ice or snow can easily slip leaving you lying on your back.
  • Keep your center of gravity over your feet as much as possible.
  • Point your feet out slightly – well, like a penguin.
  • Shuffle your feet and take short steps. You may feel you look silly, but rather safe than silly.
  • Watch where you are stepping, being aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk with your head down or have your eyes on your phone.
  • Concentrate on keeping your balance.
  • Watch our own Dave Odenbach, PT, ‘walk like a penguin’.

A few other demonstrations by Dave who demonstrates how to use traction cleats, or Yaktrax®, and for those who use a cane, how to use a cane spike for support.

Be careful out there and enjoy the winter ‘walking like a penguin!’

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