Walking every day, even for short distances, has so many understated health benefits. Those benefits include a reduced risk for chronic disease, a decrease in body fat, and an improved mental wellbeing. Of course, getting all your steps in isn’t easy during the winter months, but MassRIDES is here to share some tips to keep you walking, even when the thermostat dips below freezing.
Walk Like a Penguin
One of the most common and dangerous aspects of winter walking is slippery surfaces. To avoid slip and fall accidents, slight adjustments to your usual walk can help you keep your balance. Shuffling or skating on icy surfaces helps you keep two points of contact on the ground for longer and gives you a better opportunity to adjust your balance.
An amusing yet helpful technique to safely walk on icy surfaces is to “walk like a penguin”. Walking like a penguin involves shifting your weight slightly forward and staying directly over your feet, much like penguins do. With this technique, you can stay active and accident-free.
Suit Up and Self Massage
The Swedish saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” resonates strongly with New Englanders. While New Englanders know how to gear up with thick socks and boots for warmth, this combination can place your feet in a very rigid position, which may restrict ankle mobility. Other muscles in your legs and hips will then have to work harder to stabilize your balance. Because of this, it’s important to remember to stretch after walking on icy or snowy surfaces to reduce unexpected soreness. It can also be a great excuse to treat yourself to a massage.
Products that help create friction while walking, like shoe ice and snow grips, are available to help you on icy surfaces should you need them. Just remember to take them off when you enter a building.
If snow and ice removal is a common problem in your neck of the woods, carrying a small packet of grit or salt can help with unanticipated slippery patches.
If all else fails this winter, relying on your New England neighbors for assistance over the ice and snow is always possible. Don’t be afraid to ask a passerby for assistance. In the deep freeze of winter, we can all use a hand. Also, be sure to track all walking trips in Bay State Commute to earn rewards and redeem discounts.