You should make like a penguin and waddle this winter.

That’s what some are encouraging people to do in order to traverse icy streets and sidewalks.

It may not be the coolest you’ve ever looked at and it may land you on some random person’s TikTok captioned “Toronto energy right now,” but it may just keep you on your feet.

As Ontario continues to clean up after a major snowstorm crippled roadways, delayed the return to in-person learning for students, and saw hundreds of TTC buses get stuck in the snow, many sidewalks in Toronto continue to be slippery and trecherous.

To help you get around safely, albeit maybe not very elegantly, here are some tips from a variety of health experts (yes, people actually study this stuff) to get you moving like your best, penguin-y self:

  • A car is only as safe as the tires it sits on. So make sure you are wearing well-insulated, waterproof footwear with thick, non-slip tread soles
Penguins know a thing or two about traveling on slick surfaces.
  • Bend your knees slightly, keep them loose, and make sure to walk flat footed
  • Point your feet out slightly (like a penguin)

  • Keep your center of gravity low, it helps stabilize your body, and keep your weight over your feet as much as possible
  • Take shorter, shuffle-like steps (you get it)
  • When you step, step with your whole foot down at once, keeping a wide base of support
  • Keep your arms at your sides or flared out slightly (this is not a time for hands-in-your-pocket coolness)
  • Walk slowly, think about your next steps, concentrate on keeping your balance

Put your phone away.

“We know texting and driving is bad, but sometimes texting and walking can be bad, too, because you do not pay attention to that patch of ice when you’re on your phone,” Lisa Smith, a public education officer and paramedic with Alberta Health Services, told the Star.

The agency believes the penguin walk could help prevent serious falls and possible injuries.

The research arm of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, KITE, is also one of the principal research enterprises at the University Health Network (UHN). KITE has done rigorous testing of various kinds of footwear, including winter boots, if you’d like to see how your own measure up.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says slip and falls are responsible for thousands of hospitalizations every year.

So the next time you’re heading outside or stepping out of your car onto an icy parking lot, you might want to draw some inspiration from this noble creature and take that waddle all the way to the (snow) bank.

With files from Star staff


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