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Walk like a duck to prevent falls -- Ruth Meyer

February 13, 2019

Kudos to the author who submitted a strategy for walking safely in the winter in the Jan. 28 letter to the editor, ” Learn to ‘winter walk’ for safety.”

He advised taking shorter steps and walking flat footed with a little crouch for lowering one’s center of gravity. I would also like to add taking a wider stance. When lowering the center of gravity over a wider base of support, increased stability is the result. In the business of preventing falls, we have a technical name for this: “walking like a duck.”

And don’t forget trackers that can be put on the soles of your boots, such as YakTrax, to help get a grip. Additionally, when going out in inclement weather, obviously dress for the weather, wear bright clothing to be visible and optimally have a cellphone on you for emergencies.

Finally, use good judgement when deciding to go out at all. Though activity is the best remedy for most anything that ails us, sometimes the risks outweigh the benefits. Staying inside may be the wisest decision, for example, when black ice occurs in a polar vortex.

Ruth Meyer, Madison, physical therapist, member of the Falls Prevention Task Force of Safe Communities of Dane County

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