How to walk safely this winter

If you travel anywhere by foot in winter, you know how treacherous the icy sidewalks and roads can be. You probably also know the immediate and long-lasting pains of falling down. To avoid these as much as possible this winter, follow these steps:

Don't take detours

To ensure your safety, it's best to follow designated paths than to try to forge your own shortcuts. By diverging from sidewalks that are already shoveled and salted, you increase your risk of slipping and falling on ice.

Keep an eye out for black ice

Those dark areas on the pavement that just look like water are the most sinister forms of ice. They're hard to spot and especially slippery. To avoid injury, be sure to avoid any areas on the ground that look like this.

Don't carry too much weight

Carrying heavy bags can throw off your sense of balance and cause you to fall. If possible, try to lighten your load this winter and carry as little as possible. If you do have to carry something, you should keep your hands and arms free to help your balance.

Give yourself extra time

Walking too quickly can expose you to a lot more opportunities to injury, so take your time walking this winter and adjust your schedule accordingly if necessary. This is important when traversing snowy paths and crossing streets, as cars can take longer to stop on icy roads and skid into intersections. Most experts recommend walking like a penguin, which means keeping your balance by extending your arms on your side, loosening your knees, pointing your feet out, and taking short steps or shuffling.

Remove snow inside

You aren't safe from slippery surfaces inside your own home. To prevent falling on slick floors, be sure to remove any snow that comes inside with you.

Be extra vigilant on inclines 

Whether you're descending or ascending steps or a hill, inclines are very risky for falls. Use handrails wherever they're available or try to walking on any exposed grass for traction on hills. Walk slowly and plant your foot firmly with each step you take.

Know how to fall

Sometimes falling is inevitable, and it happens to pretty much everyone. If you do fall, make sure you fall as safely as possible to lessen the possibility of serious injury. Try to land on a fleshy part of your body, like your side and avoid any impact on your knees, wrists or back. If you do fall backward, bring your chin to your chest so you won't hit your head so hard.

If you're experiencing back pain due to falling on ice, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor today.