Smart Ways to Avoid a Nasty Fall This Winter

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This time of year, with a ton of snow, freezing rain, and ice everywhere, unless you have plans to just hibernate until spring, you are going to have to go outside and face the elements. It’s a pretty safe bet too that, one day, you are going to slip and slide like a kid on a waterslide.

Although everyone laughs out loud at those funny videos of people falling down on the ice, it’s really no laughing matter. In 2011, more than 22,000 adults died from injuries that involved falling, most of them occurring in the winter months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In fact, diet doctor Dr. Robert Atkins met his death from a head injury he received after falling on an icy sidewalk right outside his office door.

Most falls can be avoided, however. Keep reading for our top tips for walking outside safely during these icy winter months.


1. The Obvious: Watch Where You Step

OK, this might seem like the no brainer of the century, but think of all the people you see texting, checking their phone, or window shopping when walking. When walking outside, always be aware of the surfaces you are on. It’s much better to be on the safe side and assume that there is ice under that light, fluffy layer of new snow. Just because you can’t see ice does not mean that it is not there. If you find you must walk uphill or downhill, always try to find a grassy edge to walk on so you have better traction. You might also want to keep an eye out for something to grab onto in case you fall. Leave your phone in your pocket or purse and look at it after you are safely indoors or are sitting down.


2. Get Physically Active

The more fit and stronger you are the less likely you are to take a tumble. Exercising will help prevent you from falling because it improves your sense of balance and makes your muscles not only stronger, but more flexible.


3. Wear Socks OVER Shoes

Don’t laugh, this works! Putting a pair of socks over your shoes is not only an extra layer of insulation, but it’s an effective form of traction! (They are cheap, too!) This is an especially good idea for toddlers, small children, and the elderly. Don’t be shy! Start a new fashion trend! Wear some socks over your shoes and if someone laughs, you can laugh at them when they fall on their behinds!


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4. Forget Pockets, Wear Gloves

How can gloves keep you from falling? Think for a moment: when you feel yourself start to slip and fall, what is the first thing you do? Put your arms out for balance, right? So rather than keeping your hands in your pockets and decreasing your center of gravity, wear gloves so you can use your arms for balance.


5. Give Your Grandparents Ski Poles

For elderly persons, especially those who need to use a cane, a pair of Nordic poles can be a lifesaver. Using a pair of Nordic ski poles, elderly persons can balance on all fours, so to speak, and feel much more confident when they are walking in icy conditions. Studies show that these are a much more effective solution to a cane in bad weather situations.

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