Why You Should Walk Like a Penguin in Icy Conditions

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group of penguins walking across snow and ice

After a few days of reprieve from ice and snow, winter weather is back in the forecast for Southern Ontario. The upcoming rain-snow mix is likely to cause havoc because once the temperature drops, what starts off as a wet sidewalk or driveway can quickly turn into a sheet of ice.

Whether you’re going outside for some exercise, running an errand, or simply getting to and from your car, winter walking can be hazardous.

“Each year around this time, we start seeing an increasing number of patients who have suffered a fall on the ice,” says Durham Region chiropractor Dr. John Noble. “Our chiropractic and massage therapy team are able to offer guidance and provide care, but ideally it would be best if the fall could be avoided!”

There are some precautions you can take to make sure you get to your destination safely. Here are eight ways to avoid a slip and fall on snow or ice:

1. Choose the right footwear

There are some great options for winter boots that provide slip resistance.

Look for these features: rubber soles with a non-slip tread.

2. Plan ahead

Give yourself extra travel time so you can walk without being rushed.

3. Don’t be distracted

Avoid walking and using your phone at the same time.

4. Be on the lookout for ice

Avoid icy patches when possible. When in doubt, assume that all dark and wet pavement surfaces are slippery.

5. Be prepared

If you don’t have salt for your stairs, driveway, or walkway, use sand or non-clumping cat litter to sprinkle on icy surfaces outdoors. If possible, only walk on paths that receive maintenance. Don’t take shortcuts where snow isn’t regularly removed

6. Use support

Use handrails when available and steady yourself on the door frame of your car when getting in and out of a vehicle.

7. Don’t compromise your balance

Avoid carrying items in your arms as that may cause you to be unbalanced. Walking with your arms swinging at your sides is the best way to maintain balance. Make sure to keep your hands out of your pockets to help with balance and walking posture (don’t forget your gloves).

8. Walk like a penguin

When the terrain is super slippery, try practising these “penguin-like” techniques for stability:

  • Keep your feet “flat-footed” (place your whole foot down at once—this also slows your walking speed)
  • Take short strides or shuffle your feet forward
  • Keep your knees slightly bent and feet pointed out. Lean forward slightly

Make sure to check for weather updates before you head out! If you have experienced a slip or fall, our Pickering massage therapy and chiropractic team can help.

Call the Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage Clinic for an assessment with Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble or Dr. Mark Fera, or to book a therapeutic massage with registered massage therapists Jessica Raedisch or Rolf Castanheiro.



With content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association

7 Reasons to Incorporate Walking Into Your Daily Routine

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At Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage, we understand the importance of keeping your body moving!

Chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera are spine, muscle, and nervous system experts and encourage you to incorporate walking as part of your daily routine.

Here’s why:

1. Walking is good for your brain.

Walking boosts blood flow to your brain, decreasing your stress hormones and releasing endorphins. This helps improve your mood, lower your chance of depression and reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

  • Two hours of walking a week can reduce your risk of stroke by 30%.
  • A 40-minute walk three times a week protects the brain region associated with planning and memory.
  • A 30-minute walk a day can reduce symptoms of depression by 36%.

2. Walking is good for your bones, muscles and joints.

Like other weight-bearing activities, walking helps maintain bone health. Four hours of walking per week can reduce the risk of hip fractures by up to 43%.

Walking up and down hills increases the activation of the hip, knee and ankle muscles. The steeper the grade, the bigger the benefit.

Walking increases the circulation of synovial fluid around your joints, providing essential lubrication and nutrients to cartilage, the tissues that act as a cushion between your bones.

3. Walking can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Walking at least 30 minutes per day is linked to lower body weight, body fat and waist circumference. A daily one-hour walk can cut your risk of obesity in half.

4. Walking is good for your digestive tract.

By taking a walk after a meal, you help your food move your digestive system, reducing the incidence of bloating and digestive problems.

5. Walking can help manage diabetes.

Diabetes affects approximately 2.5 million Canadians, with over 200,000 cases being diagnosed every year. Researchers around the globe have all found that regular exercise, along with dietary changes, can help manage diabetes. Walking can help reduce insulin resistance, keeping blood sugar levels balanced and energy levels even.

6. Walking is good for your heart.

Studies have shown that exercise lessens your risk of developing heart disease because it helps reduce the amount of fats and cholesterol in the body (both play a role in damaging your arteries). A daily 30 to 60-minute walk increases your heart rate, improves blood flow and helps your heart pump more efficiently, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

7. Walking can help you live longer.

With all these health benefits, it only makes sense that walking increases longevity. A mere 75 minutes a week of brisk walking can add almost two years to your life!

Enjoy the warmer weather and improve your overall health by making walking a part of your daily routine.


At Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage, we provide our patients with more than just chiropractic and massage therapy services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so you can be at your best for work or play, every day.

To book an appointment or learn more about the chiropractic and therapeutic massage therapy services available at our clinic, call 905-427-3202.


Image courtesy of Canada Walks. Inspired by content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association, MyFitnessPal and Canada Walks.