Let’s say you’re shopping and as you emerge from the grocery store, you find that the light snow has changed to sleet. The parking lot is an ice skating rink! What do you do?

There actually is a safer way to walk on ice to reduce your chance of falling. Scientists, researchers and physical therapists all recommend that when you walk on ice, you should walk like a penguin.

 Here’s what to know about walking on ice:

  • Don’t do it if you can avoid it.
  • Before you begin, shift any bags you are carrying. You want equal distribution of weight between both arms.
  • Hold bags low, helping lower your center of gravity and making it more difficult to tip over.
  • Take small measured steps. You don’t want a large space between your left and right foot, as this dramatically shifts weight distribution, which may encourage the foot farthest forward to slide.
  • Foot placement if important. Never walk heel first, rather – place each foot flat on the ice, as penguins do, keeping your weight as equal as possible between both feet.
  • Stiff legs make it much easier to fall. Your knees should be slightly bent, allowing you to counter any sudden lurch forward or back, as well as side to side.
  • Lean forward slightly with your upper body, as penguins do.
  • Lastly, see if you can relax your upper body, especially your shoulders. The more tense you are, the more likely you are to over-correct if you begin to slip, and lose your balance.

What if you begin to fall and can’t catch yourself? Drop your bags and your purse – protecting your body is much more important than whatever is in your hands. Bend your elbows and knees and try to fall backward, taking the bulk of the weight of your fall on your rear (the most padded part of your body) rather than forward, where bracing for impact can easily break wrists, elbow or collarbone. Check out this video showing unavoidable (and funny) falls.

At RoseLake Estates, we want our residents to stay safe. We plow and salt our roads and walkways, but you may be out before we can get there. In the meantime, be proactive. Salt or use wildlife/pet-safe de-icing materials such as sand on and around your porch, walkway or mailbox.

Be safety conscious. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings whenever you are outside, even if it is just to go for the mail. Don’t hurry. Look for shiny spots on roads, driveways and sidewalks. It may be worth your while to drive to your mailbox and back, or have a meal or groceries delivered to your door.

Be a good neighbor. If you have someone elderly living nearby, please do check on him or her, bringing in her mail or paper, and making sure he or she is okay. As always, if someone you know needs help, please let management know.

Have a safe month! Spring is only a few weeks away.