Make The Only Fall In Your Life Be Next September!
It’s that time of year again. The days are short, it’s cold outside, and snow and icy streets are on the horizon. Many people fear the winter because surfaces outside can get slippery from cold rain and snow. With these changes come increased chances of slip and falls. Freezing temperatures also introduce the possibility of running into black ice – a slippery surface that you often don’t realize is there until you are on it. It can all make you want to run down to Florida’s beaches just to escape it all (well maybe don’t run because that also increases your chance of falling)!
So What Does One Do To Feel More Confident To Walk Outside In The Winter?
But what if you can’t just fly down to Florida? Many people trade in their sneakers for boots, which often have better traction. Better traction certainly helps. But two important, low-cost things you can do are to pay attention to how you walk and adjust your exercise routines to help you walk safer.
Tell Me, How Can I Adjust My Walk?
Many people lean forward when walking because they are in a rush or just engrossed in their smartphone. Leaning forward is not a good idea. Your body is already working overtime to keep you upright. Imagine if you lose just a bit of your balance and find yourself leaning too far forward? Splat! So…
1. Check your posture and limit leaning. Are you leaning forward at your ankles or hip? Yes, a slight light lean at your ankles, might help you walk a bit faster. But when your goal is safety and not speed, you will want to limit your lean. As you walk, limit leaning over from your hips and don’t let your head lead your walk! Put in geeky terms, you want your center of mass, hips and torso on top of your supporting leg, not in front of it. So stand tall!
2. Leave your smartphone in your pocket. We get it, we’re addicted, too. But what’s more important – your social media feed or your health? As far as the original use for having a mobile phone, if you have to take a call, be sure to use headphones so that you have both your hands free to help you balance. Or heaven forbid, brace a fall.
3. Be aware. Be aware of your body, of where your feet are, and of your general surroundings at all times. If you do find yourself a little bit off balance – maybe someone bumps into you on the street or the train makes a sudden turn – you’ll be able to react quickly. The quicker you react, the better the chance you have to rebalance yourself.
Is There Anything More I Can Do?
Exercise and resistance training is a great way for your limbs to better learn where they are (called proprioception). It does not have to be high-intense, resistance training. Things like yoga and pilates are low resistance, high volume movements that will also help you improve your body awareness. The trick is to find something you want to do consistently – even if it’s just dancing in your bedroom to music!
What If I’m Still Not Confident or Still Can’t Stop Leaning Forward?
You might want to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. Many people have poor posture from years of being hunched over at the computer. Their back muscles are not strong enough to keep them upright for long periods of time. Some muscles might be tight and pull you into a hunched over posture. By improving muscle strength and length you can make standing upright much easier.
Who Can I Call For Help?
Look no further than Midtown Physical Therapy. Their therapists are well trained to analyze what’s stopping you from having optimal posture and will help you work on improving it so you can walk during the winter time with more confidence. As an added bonus, did you know research has shown that standing tall also helps one feel more confident in all aspects of their life! And who doesn’t want a little more confidence in their life?
Contact us below to schedule a one-on-one appointment with one of our therapists. Your therapist will provide an individualized assessment and develop a customized treatment plan to help you attain your goals. We offer in-person visits at our offices in Riverdale and the Upper West Side, concierge in-home sessions, and virtual visits over Telehealth to cater to all of your needs.
We look forward to helping you achieve your wellness goals.
TeaMPT: Rachel, Julie, Christine, Yoshi, Liz, Mo, Heidi, Pooja, Cassy, Jeannette, and Toni