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Ready for winter walking

A Straight-Up Guide to Avoiding a Fall

It’s that time of year again when outdoor surfaces are more hazardous with rain, snow and sleet. As conditions get tougher outside, there are a few things you can do to stop yourself from slipping and falling on the unforgiving ground.

ready for winter walkingDress warm

Dress right for the cold outside. Bundle up and wear layered clothing to keep your muscles warm and relaxed. When your muscles tighten up in the wintertime chill, this can affect your mobility and increase the risk of an unexpected fall. Also, make sure you wear sturdy shoes with good traction.

Tread with care

Keep your driveway and sidewalks clear of ice and snow. Be careful when getting out of your car. An unexpected slippery surface like black ice may be waiting for you when you get out.

Take your time

Budget a little more time to get where you are going in the wintertime so that you are never in a hurry to arrive. Be mindful and methodical when you walk. Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid taking shortcuts that may tempt you to save a few more seconds in your journey. Having a more leisurely approach to your walking is also good for your mental health, keeping you calm, collected and more alert to unsafe situations.

Watch for fall hazards

Be careful inside your home. Your floors become hazardous when they are wet with rainwater or melted snow tracked in from outside. Keep your floors dry and clear of obstacles like power cords and small tables. Use rugs that have a slip-resistant backing.

Make sure your home has adequate lighting in the darker winter months.

Stay alert

Vision and hearing problems can increase your risk of falling. Discuss your eyesight and hearing with your doctor to determine if you need to correct any issues. Bring a list of your medications to discuss any side effects that might impair your senses.

Be active

When the cold weather arrives, you may be tempted to stay indoors and hibernate. It’s important to stay active and keep your body moving in the winter months. Believe it or not, sedentary living could add to your risk of falling. When you keep your body active by adding physical activity to your day, like walking, tai chi or yoga, you improve your strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. Discuss a physical routine with your doctor to make sure you have a program that’s not too strenuous or risky.

Posted: November 24, 2021