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Winter walks

Published on 11 February 2013  | Download | back to previous

This is an image from this news item.Walking is one of the best forms of exercise available and as a Chiropractor I regularly encourage patients to walk more. Given the current icy weather conditions people are rightly concerned about causing injury and as a result they are missing out on a fantastic exercise. Not only are people more likely to slip and fall but this increased likelihood of injury leads to people adopting an altered walking pattern, which in itself can result in back ache. To help get people out and walking safely here is some advice that we can all follow: - <br /><br /><br />Best foot forward<br />- It is a good idea to have two pairs of shoes, one for walking in the ice and snow, the other for indoors or whilst driving. <br />- Waterproof or other, lined shoes are preferable as are thermal socks, as these items will help keep your feet warm. Cold, numb feet are less able to sense and adapt to changing conditions. <br />- Footwear should have a solid and large, raised treads on the sole; essential for maximising your grip on the ice. <br />- Shoes with support features are important – walking shoes with a firm ankle support are ideal as they help prevent you ‘going over' on your ankle and help you feel more stable in slippery conditions. If shoes have laces, they should be firmly laced to give a close fit without limiting the circulation.<br />What to avoid…..Wellingtons can be practical, but they often don't give enough support and can be difficult to take off. Also avoid walking outside in leather or other, smooth soled shoes.<br /><br />Top Gear<br />- Clothing should be warm and allow you to move freely. Anything that impedes you from walking ‘normally' could make you more prone to falling over or lead to you walking in an unnatural way.<br /><br />Be Prepared<br />- There are things you can do to prepare yourself for better balance. Standing on one leg, as an exercise, is a great way to help improve your balance. <br />- When you are out and about, keeping your hands out of your pockets (use gloves) so that you can use your arms for better balance is a great idea too. <br />- Watch out for parts of the pavement that may have been in shadow or under trees, where there is more likely be black ice, but make sure you pay attention to what is ahead too!<br /><br />Falling Gracefully<br />If you do fall, try and curl up and 'roll' with the fall and stay relaxed, this will minimise any jarring to your body. Whilst it may be an automatic reaction, try to avoid putting your hands out to save you - this may cause wrist injuries. <br /><br />Keep Your Wits<br />Try to avoid alcohol. Not only will you be more prone to feeling the adverse effects of the cold (because alcohol causes loss of body heat) but it may also cause you to take risks that you wouldn't normally do and, of course, make you more unsteady on your feet. Keep topped up with warm drinks to keep your temperature up.<br /><br />If you have any questions or require a check up before or after a walk please contact Dr. Laura Young on 01656 856162 or e-mail her on

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