Among winter’s hazards (hello, biting wind and freezing temps) are streets and sidewalks made treacherous by ice and snow. But with a little preparation, you can avoid becoming one of the 5.1 million people sidelined each year by a nasty spill. Here, strategies you need to choose shoes that’ll keep your feet steady on slick surfaces, develop better balance, and more.
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Sport slip-proof shoes
Boots or flats with good support and rubber soles offer the best traction, says Oliver Zong, MD, a podiatrist and director of surgery at NYC Footcare. The UGG Women’s Stormburst ($190, Front) fills the bill. If heels are a must, opt for a wedge of no more than 2 inches for good stability. Our pick: Callie by AK Anne Klein ($60, Back).
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Boost your balance
Good balance is key to avoiding a tumble. Improve yours by building core strength with the Nintendo Wii Fit ($90), a 12.5- by 20-inch "balance board" that works with the Wii console. You can practice yoga, ski jump, and Hula-hoop—without leaving the comfort of your living room.
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How to walk in icy weather
Walk with your feet slightly farther apart than usual.
Take small steps, but don’t shuffle. On stairs, go down sideways.
Keep hands free for balance, rather than stuffing them in your pockets. Avoid fiddling with your phone or MP3 player, too.
Keep your eyes on the ground in front of you.
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Winterize your turf
Keep all paths well-lit and shoveled. Nix slick spots with a de-icer that contains calcium magnesium acetate instead of rock salt. (It’s corrosive and harsh on the environment.) Sprinkle gravel or sand in high-traffic areas for better traction. And always use the door mat to keep the wetness outdoors. One we like: the Pottery Barn Cherry Blossom Door Mat ($29).
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Carry stuff safely
When hefting bags with handles, distribute the weight evenly and hold bags as low as possible to keep your center of gravity low, says Ronald Grelsamer, MD, a knee surgeon at the Mt. Sinai Hospital Department of Orthopedics. Make several trips if necessary—overloading can throw you off balance or lead to sprained muscles. And wear your purse diagonally over your chest instead of on your shoulder, where it could slip off; the sudden movement could unbalance you.
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