winter

Stay safe on the ice by walking like this animal

Jan. 26, 2015 at 10:28 AM ET

With a monster blizzard expected to blanket the Northeast from Philadelphia to northern New England, millions of Americans will be navigating icy roads and sidewalks for days to come. Even heavy snow boots may not keep you upright on frozen walkways and stairs. 

There is good news: If you find yourself slipping, remember “tuck and roll." 

If you feel yourself losing balance, tuck into a ball, make yourself as small as possible and keep your head and face away from the fall, experts say. Don't put out your hands to catch yourself, or you'll risk breaking your arms or wrists. Try to land on the fleshy part of your body rather than your knees or spine. 

How to Walk On Ice
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Or try this proven way avoid a painful splat on the ice: Walk like a penguin. The waddle keeps your center of gravity over your front leg and will help keep you upright. Spread your feet out slightly, to increase your center of gravity, and take small steps.

Also, keep your hands out of your pockets while walking — that decreases your center of gravity and balance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You need your arms for balance.

Video: NBC’s Miguel Almaguer is in Boston, Massachusetts, where the mayor is telling people to stay indoors and off the roads. There could be white-out conditions there later in the day.

Slips and falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional deaths, according to the National Safety Council. And with the latest snow and ice storm affecting as many as 29 million people for the next several days, it's time to be extra careful.

Here are tips for walking safely in the winter weather from the University of Utah and Iowa State University

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination to avoid carelessness.
  • Wear shoes and boots with good traction.
  • Walk at a slower pace.
  • Stay on designated walkways.
  • Use the handrail when using stairs and entering and exiting buildings.

This updated story was originally published in April, 2014. TODAY.com health editor Jane Weaver contributed to this report

Video: Fitness expert and stunt performer Amie Hoff shows the safe way to fall on snow and ice and stresses the importance of keeping your head and face away from the fall when possible.

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