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How to Avoid Slipping on Ice: Lessons Learned from a Penguin

Updated: Mar 26

Recently I took a giant leap across a snowbank, landed on a patch of ice and fell. Within a few days my shoulder and arm joined my ego in the “bruised department“. I was quite surprised how sore I felt and how long the pain lasted. 


Over the next week, during walks in the snow, I noticed I had replaced my regular stride with a bit of a funny gait - almost a shuffle. My bruised pride was replaced with laughter as I imagined adopting an overly exaggerated penguin walk to avoid further falls. 


I know falls aren’t funny. In Canada in 2016-2017, there were nearly 9,000 hospitalizations due to falls on ice, making them the number-one cause of sport or winter injuries, according to the stats from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. 


An article and infographic posted online by KLKNTV out of Lincoln, Nebraska, provided a few tips to help minimize the risk of falling. To avoid slipping in the future, I realized I needed to make better choices when it comes to winter footwear and navigational efforts. 


The KLKNTV article also suggested that we all could learn a thing or two from our feathered friends from the south. In other words, a penguin walk could help us how to walk on ice.


• Keep your weight forward and on your front foot

• Keep your arms out by your side to help you balance

• Walk flat footed and take short shuffling steps

• Wear footwear that provides traction

• Step down, not out from curbs

• Keep your knees slightly bent

• Walk on snow or grass if possible


Tips and infographic courtesy of KLKNTV news.

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