Preventing Winter Falls

winter-falls

Random Fit Fact: Get an extra burst of nutrients and energy by adding fruits and vegetables earlier on in the day. One easy way to do this is by making a breakfast smoothie. Give the following recipe a try: mix 1 cup of spinach, a palm size each of cucumber, pineapple, banana, chia seeds, protein powder, and a handful of berries in a blender and enjoy!

Prevent Winter Falls: Winter is in full effect which means snowstorms, freezing rain, and ice on sidewalks, stairs, and driveways. Winter weather conditions increase the risk of slipping and falling which can lead to injuries such as fractures, muscle tears, strains, and/or sprains. Knowing how to walk safely in these conditions can help prevent falls and therefore injuries; consider wearing good snow boots or even golf shoes with spikes as a way to gain better traction in such conditions.

Follow the four guidelines below to help prevent potential injuries:

Improve Balance
Improving balance will decrease the risk of falling in slippery conditions. It is beneficial to have a strong core and strong stabilizing muscles for balance.

You can work on your balance at the gym with a few simple exercises:

  • Any one-legged exercise
  • Using the bosu ball or balance board
  • Lateral jumps (stay on 1 leg)
  • Strengthening adductors/abductors, LPHC (lumbo pelvic hip complex)
  • Planks
  • Torso rotation
  • One-legged plyometrics

Do the “Shuffle”
If there’s no other choice than to walk on ice or snow, shuffle your feet rather than taking full strides. That means you should take baby steps by moving your feet apart just a little bit at a time for a few inches and be sure to slightly bend your knees as you walk. Following this practice will help provide more stability and balance.

Go Sideways on Inclines
When required to walk on an incline or decline that is covered in snow or ice, it is best to walk sideways. This provides more stability than walking forward. In order to walk sideways, turn to the side (not facing the incline or decline), take a step with the foot that is leading (closest to the top or bottom of the hill), and bring the other foot (the foot farthest from the top or the bottom of the hill) along as well. Be sure to keep your feet parallel and not cross them, as crossing your feet makes you unstable and more likely to fall.

Focus, Focus, Focus

  • Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for black “invisible” ice.
  • Exercise caution when exiting cars as you are not able to see what you are about to step on.
  • Keep your head up! We have a tendency to lower our heads when there are poor weather conditions and this promotes bad posture and throws off our equilibrium, which puts us at risk to fall.