Being active enjoying winter activities and sports is a great way to stay healthy. Winter is a great season for outdoor activities. Cold weather, ice and snow can be fun but also dangerous. Most injuries are predictable and preventable. Parachute Canada has information about how to enjoy winter and stay safe.
Winter Outdoor Walking Safety
Walking outdoors is a great way to stay active and enjoy the winter.
Choose the Right Foot Wear
Choosing the right footwear helps keep you safe on snow and ice so you can enjoy your outing. Look for winter boots that are well-insulated, waterproof, non-slip sole with a wide, low heal.
At the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network facility iDAPT researchers are testing footwear to prevent unintentional slips and falls. To see what casual or work safety footwear stands up to slippery conditions check out the Rate My Treads website.
Winter Walking Traction Aids
Using traction aids or ice and snow grippers is another way to reduce slips and falls on icy surfaces. Keep in mind that cleats and over the shoe traction aids are meant for outdoor icy and snowy conditions. Wearing these aids on other surfaces could pose a serious slip and fall hazard, especially on hard smooth floor surfaces such as stone, tile and ceramic. Always remove traction aids from your footwear when coming indoors.
More Tips to Avoid Slips and Falls on Icy Surfaces
If you find yourself on ice or snow:
- Keep your arms at your sides (not in your pockets). Wear mitts or gloves to keep hands warm and use a backpack to carry items.
- Bend slightly and walk flat footed
- Point your feet out slightly
- Keep your center of gravity over your feet as much as possible
- Watch where you are stepping
- Take shorter steps or shuffle your feet
- Concentrate on keeping your balance
- Slow down
Here is how a cold weather experts use the tips above – walk like a penguin.
Using a cane, ski poles or walking sticks can help with balance.
If you are using a cane, attach a retractable ice pick to the end. Cane picks are slippery on hard surfaces.
To find out more about how to enjoy winter activities visit our Tips for Winter Activity fact sheet.