Safe Winter Walking Resource Information
Physical activity throughout the year is a part of healthy aging and can help prevent falls and fractures. Please feel free to use this content to develop your own local resources.
- Keep your doctor informed of your physical activity level. Medication could increase your risk of falling!
- If you find yourself walking on ice, move slowly and think about your next move. Keep knees loose, shorten your strides, and shuffle your feet. Wet leaves, rain, and snow drifts can be as risky as ice.
- Once it gets dark outside, you may not be able to see dangers as easily – and dangers such as cars may not be able to see you. Be aware and wear reflective clothing if out at night.
- Take extra care when stepping off the last step of stairs. This is a common place for a fall. Use the hand rail when available for extra support.
Enjoy winter walking and be safe!
This resource was developed as a collective effort by the Southwest Region (Ontario) Falls Prevention Network (SWRFPN) and may be reproduced for other winter walking fall prevention resources.
Canada Safety Council: Canada’s Voice and Resource for Safety. Safety Tips for Winter Walking. https://canadasafetycouncil.org/senior-safety/safety-tips-winter-walking
My Health. Alberta.ca. Winter Walking Tips: Lower Your Risk of Falling.
Board of Health. Preventing Injuries from Wintertime Slips and Falls in Toronto.
City of Toronto: Board of Health; 2016 Oct. Report No: PW17.14
Available PDF link:
PEO Canada. 9 Winter Safety Tips You Didn’t Know.
University of Calgary. Risk – Environmental Health and Safety. Safe Winter Walking.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention Tips
- Do the penguin shuffle: point your feet outward like a penguin, take short, shuffle-like steps, keep your arms at your side and out of your pockets, concentrate on keeping your balance, watch where you are stepping and go slowly.
- Walk in designated areas. Avoid using short cuts and self-made paths as these may be very icy and slippery — stay on the cleared sidewalks, even if it takes extra time.
- Avoid carrying loads that obstruct your view, especially on stairways — consider wearing a backpack.
- Wear appropriate winter footwear. Wear shoes with traction and avoid wearing high heels outdoors — switch to winter-appropriate footwear, even if you’re walking a short distance.
- Allow yourself additional time to get where you’re going.
- Take small steps to keep your center of balance under you.
- Walk slowly and never run on icy ground.
- Keep both hands free for balance, rather than in your pockets.
- Use handrails from start to finish.
- Keep your eyes on where you are going.
- Test potentially slick areas by tapping your foot on them.
- Step — don’t jump — from vehicles and equipment.
- Don’t text and walk at the same time.