Published on February 21, 2022

"Walk Like A Penguin" And Other Tips For Bad Weather

Penguins Walking

As a longtime Michigander, there is one thing I know for certain - we get bad weather! With the bad weather, we are graced with the unlucky job of having to navigate snow, ice and strong winds that can sometimes prevent us from being able to go out and do the tasks that we want to do. However, there are some tips and tricks you can try that may give you more confidence as you navigate treacherous weather conditions. 

The most important tip for walking in snowy or icy weather is to walk like a penguin! Penguins use a gait pattern that we have found to be most effective for navigating slippery areas. First, they point their feet outward and about shoulder width apart so they have a nice, wide base of support for the most surface area possible. Next, they take small, short steps and stay as flat-footed as possible. By stepping with their whole foot flat, they're able to use the entire surface area of their foot and stop their feet from sliding out from underneath them. Finally, they walk with their arms wide and out to the side, which increases their base of support to allow for the most balance possible, similar to a tightrope walker trying not to fall. 

Other tips include using slip-resistant soles on your shoes and using assistive devices if you have them. 

If, after all these tips, you're still unsteady on your feet, it might be time to consider seeing a physical therapist. A physical therapist can take you through a series of tests and measures that will help guide you toward an exercise program that is catered toward you to help you feel more confident in your balance and mobility.

Maria Robison, D.P.T., is a physical therapist at our Greater Midland North End Fitness Center location at 601 E. Wackerly Street in Midland. Her clinical expertise is in manual therapy, orthopedics, geriatrics and neuro-rehabilitation. To make an appointment, call the office at (989) 832-5913.