As this winter hits record-breaking lows across the US, the danger of falling on icy roads, sidewalks and stairs is at an all-time high.
Though it is likely you’ll slip while walking on ice, quick thinking as you are going to the ground can minimize injury, preventing you from being one of the 800,000 people hospitalized due to falls every year in the US, according to the CDC.
Falling etiquette, such as the tuck-and-roll and using other body parts beside your arms to break the fall can mean saving a trip to the hospital, according to Amie Hoff, a New York-based professional stunt performer, fitness expert and founder of FitKit.
Amie revealed to Daily Mail Online her tips for staying safe this winter season and said something as simple as wearing the right shoes and strengthening your core can cushion your fall and prevent serious injury.
Tucking and rolling instead of catching yourself with your arms will help prevent serious injury while falling on ice this winter, according to a New York professional stunt performer
There is a split second of time when you realize you are falling and when you hit the floor.
If in that moment you can remember to tuck your body into a ball, that could save you from breaking a bone or worse.
Amie said: ‘If at all possible, bring the arms close to the body and slightly roll.’
Though it is instinctual to put your hands out in front of you to break your fall, Amie suggests bringing them into your chest, crossing them and forming a ball.
Becoming as small as possible and falling to your side will minimize injury to your back, head and wrists.
2. Protect your head
The head is the most important thing to protect while falling.
If you’re going down, Amie said to remember that ‘landing on the bum is best.’
However, it is important to try to keep your chest and head up so it does not hit the rock-solid ice and cause serious damage.
Tucking your chin into your chest while falling to the back or side will keep your head from hitting the ground.
If stretching your arms out is the only way to break a fall to protect your face, Amie said: ‘Be sure to soften the elbows a bit as to not break a wrist.’
3. Dress in layers
Any padding such as, ski pants, extra layers or a thick hat will certainly help soften the fall.
Thick, waterproof gloves will also prevent your hands from slipping on ice if you use them to break a fall or while getting up from the ground.
Of course, what you wear on your feet is most important.
‘A solid, rugged sole to help with traction is the best,’ according to Amie.
She suggests wearing a rubber boot that goes above the ankle because people are more likely to tread slowly on ice for fear that snow will get inside their shoe.
A high boot will allow someone to step sturdily onto the snow and ice which decreases the chance of a slip.
4. Strengthen your core
‘The best defense against falling on ice (and life in general) is to be sure to strengthen the hips, ankles and core,’ said Amie.
Having a strong core helps the body react to either prevent the fall entirely or help soften the blow by controlling movement.
You can build your core muscles by doing simple workouts at home including, sit-ups, crunches and practicing yoga.
Strengthening your core will also improve balance, lowering your risk of a fall and help you to catch yourself when you slip.
‘The time between slipping and falling is so fast and depending on your footing, it’s difficult to get your body into a position that is least impactful,’ said Amie.
However, some quick thinking and preparation before braving the cold, icy streets could keep your body safe from serious injury this winter.
A map of the continental US shows the freezing temperatures for this Thursday night, January 4, 2018