LETTER: Winter Walking

You may see me reeling a bit or walking ‘on the bias’, but it’s not from dope or drink! Olivia Newton John gives the explanatory song (‘Let’s Get Physical’) with lyrics altered – leading to an important general topic:

“I got VERTIGO! VERTIGO!

I didn’t want VERTIGO! Since I got the Vertigo –

Let me learn to Winter Walk! To Winter Walk!” etc.

Yes, Winter Walk. There is much talk about Winter Driving; why not Winter Walking? Since vertigo plays against brain-to-body communication, I must focus carefully on walking skills for balance and steadiness, especially. Those skills can apply to us all on slippery streets and sidewalks:

1) Make walking Job 1. Not texting, window-gazing, or ranting at Trump or Trudeau.

2) Step straight to the ground, quite the opposite (hooray) of Nazi goose-stepping. ‘Tramp’ with heel and toe touching down at same time, a broad surface area rather than just edge-of-the-heel.

3) Look ahead, plan ahead for stops and turns. Avoid jerky moves or sudden direction-shifts.

4) Step on gritty or crunchy (not glossy) ground when you can – but if gloss is boss, #2) rules!

5) Seek a helping family/friend/stranger at any obstacle. Offer help to others. “We’re all in this together” was never more true.

6) As in driving, suit your speed to weather and surface conditions.

7) Shush your companions’ chitchat if needed, so you all can focus on step-by-step stepping.

8) No sidewalk? Walk on Left facing traffic! That rule used to be drummed into schoolkids. How can you react to anything going awry if you don’t see it?

9) Enjoy the science of energy travel, bone-to-bone lineup, and a solid foot plant (not face plant).

10) Good footwear goes without saying, but conditions do vary! Big Kamiks are ideal for deep snow; but loose flip-flopping in those boots might make for a liability at barely freezing. See again #2).

Besides saving health care demands including mega-dollars, Winter Walking may prevent broken-bone agony and loss of work time, family time, fun time —- or even life time. The brilliant car-designer Amos Northup, out for a newspaper in early 1937, slipped on ice. He smashed his head on a Detroit sidewalk – and died two days later at age 47.

It’s no joke. Let us learn to Winter Walk.

Arne Sahlen

Kimberley

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