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Walking On Ice: Safety Tips For Walking Outdoors in Adverse Conditions

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 11/19/2009

When the weather outside is frightful, are you stuck inside or can you brave the cold and head on out for an outdoor walking workout? Why not get out there and do it? Just make sure you're armed with a little knowledge on how to safely tread your way through those less than favorable conditions.

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    Walking in Winter Safely

    It's a great idea to keep up with your walking workout this winter. Just be sure you're safe out there. Injuries can result from walking on slick roads, so extra precautions are needed when walking in winter during adverse conditions.

    Walking on wintry streets calls for a little extra planning and care, but it can be done. Try to stick to salted sidewalks if possible. You could still hit some icy spots, but there's a lot less risk. If that's not possible, and you're faced with snow and ice, be sure your shoes have good traction. Shoes that are equipped with lugged soles provide extra traction on slick streets. For even more stability, consider a pair of strap on treads such as Stabilicers or Jaktrax. Just remember to remove treads once you reach a dry surface because they will become very slippery and could cause a fall. If roads are very icy, walk in the snow instead of on the streets. Snowshoes make for a great workout, and you can head out beyond the streets. Snowshoes and Jaktrax are available at REI.

    Try walking with nordic walking poles. You'll add stability and burn 40% more calories, according to cross country ski coach, Pete Edwards. Ski walking is becoming more popular throughout the year, but it really lends itself well to those who wish to continue their walking program throughout the winter months. Nordic ski poles can be purchased for around $70.

    Those who suffer from cold air induced asthma should always wear a scarf or mask over their faces to lessen the shock of cold air entering the lungs. Asthma attacks can result if this is not employed. Just keep it loose over your face. Otherwise, the material will get wet from the humidity of your breath, and depending on how cold the weather is, you may end up with ice crystals on the fabric.

    Finally, don't overdo it when you're walking in winter weather. Tired muscles can become less stable, and you'll be more likely to fall. Also, pay attention to your body's signals. If you experience sudden shortness of breath or chest pain, stop immediately and seek medical help. Always walk with a cell phone in case you would happen to fall or experience any medical symptoms. Walking in winter weather can add an element of danger, but a little extra caution and a lot of flexibility can make for a fun, exciting workout any day of the year.

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