Winter in Kingston has been fairly mild this year (knock on wood), however we always manage to get some horrendous days of freezing rain and the odd snow squall here and there. Despite the slippery conditions I always manage to see people out and about walking downtown doing their best to keep their balance.
This blog post will give you some tips that will help you in avoiding those icy slips and falls when the winter weather takes a nasty turn! And if there's just no way of avoiding it, there is indeed a proper way to fall to minimize injury.
To figure out how to navigate these icy sidewalks and paths when on foot we're going to see how the pros deal with icy weather. For this, we will look to our flightless blubbery friends from way down south!
You can't fall if you're already on the ground!
So let's breakdown what these jovial creatures are doing to ensure that their feet remain firmly underneath them!
Before we get into the walking on ice part, there are some simple things to be mindful of with regards to your body positioning to help minimize your risk of a slip and fall.
Correct body positioning? Check! Let's move on to how you should (and shouldn't) be walking on ice and slippery surfaces.
When walking normally our legs support our weight. There's a moment in the gait cycle when our weight is split between both our front and back legs. The problem with walking on ice is that as our lead foot is landing, our legs are at oblique angles. This means that we are much more likely to slip and fall!
Below are some do's and don'ts for when walking on ice.
In the event that you do slip and fall, there are some safer ways to fall that minimize any potential injuries you may sustain.
First let's discuss the absolutely ideal way to fall if you slip on ice! There's only 3 things to remember for this:
I know that even though it's only 3 things to remember, that's quite a lot to think about in the moment when you're slipping and falling! To simplify it, you want to try to LAND IN THE FETAL POSITION with your head tucked in between your hands (or at least as close to the fetal position as possible by the time you impact the icy ground).
More often than not however, you'll slip backwards and very quickly. In the event that this happens there's some tips below for what to do and what to avoid!
Hopefully you don't end up suffering any slips and falls this winter but at least now you know how to fall properly to minimize impact and injury! It may look a little silly to march like a penguin, but I'll go ahead and put my trust in their millions of years of experience traversing snowy and icy terrain to keep my butt from landing on the cold, hard ice!
If you do end up slipping and find yourself down for the count, try not to let it get you down! You may have been proactive and done everything right but interference to your nervous system or an imbalance of your muscles may have contributed to why you took a tumble. It may be time to have your spine checked by a chiropractor to assist you in getting back to doing the things you love and preventing any future falls! Click HERE to make an appointment.
214 Wellington Street
Dr. Kim Nguyen, D.C.