Walking in Winter Weather: Do It Safely and Know Your Limitations
This is a guest post by Eva McElwain Tucci AKA Gammianne and mom to Hungry
I think that the majority of us would agree that it has been a rather unusual and harsh winter with near record snowfalls in many areas of the country. I was always an active and physical child, however, a Phys Ed assignment my sophomore year in High School led me onto the path of a more organized exercise regime (Thank you Mrs McCormack!!). Our assignment was to choose two sports which we either had to participate in , or choose a spectator sport. As my family was somewhat limited on funds (I am one of nine children) I chose to roller skate, an activity which I had been attending with my Church Group for years and asked my teacher if I could design an exercise plan for myself as my second activity. Being a nerd and overall highly graded student, I was given the go-ahead. That was in 1975 and little did I know when I made that decision that I would be choosing a path for life .
Although disabled in 2008 by a rather serious spinal cord injury at C5, I have been exercising since 1975 and spent many years being a gym rat. I do routinely go to the gym five or six days a week although many of my exercises have been curtailed due to injury and I do have limitations in what I am permitted to do .
Currently away from home , I have not been to the gym since December 22nd (yikes). Instead, I have been largely walking which has been challenging with all the ice and snow (I cannot afford a slip and fall) so I am writing about how to walk outdoors safely in this weather as I have heard too many stories about people slipping, falling and breaking bones and they are much younger than I , not to mention in physically better shape.
The photos in this post show my daily walk (read more at Winter Ninja). It has not been plowed and there are many icy patches as well as uneven terrain. So..what do I do ? I have been walking on top of the snow, simple enough as there is traction to be had there. Rather than walk on the pathway , which is riddled with patches of ice as well as frozen slush making for a ridiculously easy scenario to slip and fall I keep myself on the snow, which today was covered in an icy coating . I am heavy enough to make an impact but light enough not to sink in. Other days there has been more snow and I have,again, learned about limitations.
The weather has warmed up a bit and that crunchy upper layer is uncertain. Again, I walk with great trepidation over any areas that are icy and I definitely recommend avoiding them (beware as if there is a thin coating of snow there is almost certainly ice beneath that, which is quite dangerous) . I was walking last week and the snow was not solid enough ..there was neither tracks or footprints and at points I was slipping in to the ankle while the other leg went in knee-deep. NOT smart…I did happen to fall into a puff of soft snow, and possibly , for the first time in my life I stopped in my tracks and turned around and went back which is something my younger and more fit ego would never have permitted. At almost 55 and with some serious injuries I made a decision to not take the chance and that is okay .
I still go out daily and check the terrain. Yesterday, after yet another snowfall, I went to a familiar and quiet neighborhood and walked around the streets (and in the streets when necessary) . It is almost always possible to get in some type of exercise…you need to know yourself, your limitations and be wise about what you are doing . It is always possible to stay Hungry & Fit as I am a testament to this. Hungry used to fall asleep in the crook of my body while I was doing sit-ups when he was a baby.