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Safe Winter Walking: Walk Like a Penguin

Published on Dec. 29, 2021

Waddles' Wisdom Safe winter walking munson healthcare waddles

We all know northern Michigan winters can keep us guessing — snow one day, a brief melt the next and ice the day after that! Our Munson Healthcare safety penguin, Waddles, is back to spread the word about safe winter walking.

Winter Waddles Poster

How to Work that Waddle

Waddles advice for winter walking? Strut your stuff and “Walk Like a Penguin!” That’s right, the penguin waddle works. How? It’s all about balance and your center of gravity.

  • Bend slightly and walk flat-footed
  • Point your feet out slightly
  • Keep your center of gravity over your feet as much as possible
  • Watch where you are stepping
  • Take shorter, shuffle-like steps
  • Keep your arms at your sides (not in your pockets!)
  • Concentrate on keeping your balance
  • Go S-L-O-W-L-Y – give yourself extra time when the conditions warrant. Rushing could be your downfall (literally)!

This video shows you how and why the waddle works. 

More Tips to Keep You Safe this Winter

Waddles has some other tips to keep you safe while walking this winter:

  • Wear appropriate footwear. Flat shoes or boots with good traction are the way to go in the winter. If you want to wear high heels or flat-soled shoes, best to carry them for later. Traction cleats (such as Yak Trax) that attach to your shoes, are a great way to give yourself extra stability.
  • Keep your hands free. If you have items to carry, use a backpack so your arms can help you with balance.
  • Avoid distractions, like talking or texting while walking and be aware of your surroundings. Keep a lookout for black ice, snow-covered ice, uneven surfaces and unsalted areas, especially when you’re getting out of your car or exiting a building.
  • Be prepared to fall. This may sound strange, but you’re going to fall, here’s how: Relax your muscles and fall on your side. Try to avoid landing on your hands, knees, or back. 

The Waddle Works

Does it look silly to waddle down the sidewalk? Absolutely. Does it hurt when you fall on the ice or pavement? Definitely. So why not give the penguin waddle a try? Penguins, after all, have a great deal of experience holding their own on the snow and ice and might have a thing or two to teach us. Tens of millions of penguins can’t be wrong!

Winter Waddles Poster