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How to walk safely in icy conditions...copy penguins, says NHS

NHS officials have advised people to “waddle like penguins” to avoid “slips and trips” during icy conditions this week.

Staff from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) were filmed waddling outside as they demonstrated the best way to avoid an injury in cold conditions.

“Adopting a penguin walk is a safer way to get about in the cold weather as it could help keep you more stable and minimise the risk of losing balance or slipping on the ice,” NHSGGC said.

Here are some tips to walk like a penguin – according to NHS experts:

• Bend slightly and keep your knees loose

• Point your feet out slightly

• Extend your arms at your sides

• Walk flat-footed, taking short steps

• Keep your centre of gravity over your feet

Dr Emilia Crighton, director for public health at NHSGGC, said: "While it might seem silly to walk or waddle like a penguin, the alternative may be a nasty injury or even time in hospital.

"Remember, when it comes to getting around on ice, penguins know best, so when you’re out and about in the next few days, adopting the penguin stance is a really effective way to move without falling."

The advice from NHS officials comes as snow and ice warnings were issued across parts of the UK.

The Met Office has issued a fresh weather warning for wind as Britain continues to be gripped by a -9C Arctic freeze. More snow is forecast on Friday before what the Met Office said would be a weekend washout as the cold snap reaches its peak and snow begins to melt.

A new wind warning covering the entire country, except the south east, Wales and Northern Ireland, has been issued by the Met Office from 6am Sunday to 6am Monday.

The forecaster also warned of strong winds which are expected to disrupt travel and damage buildings.

Follow our latest weather coverage here

Snowy conditions in Whitby. Hundreds of schools are shut, some for a fourth day, (PA)
Snowy conditions in Whitby. Hundreds of schools are shut, some for a fourth day, (PA)

On Wednesday, many areas of the UK experienced their coldest night with Scotland seeing temperatures dropping to -10C and England -11C. Hundreds of schools in Scotland were also closed on Tuesday due to heavy snow.

As the cold snap continues and the pressure on the NHS rises, Dr Crighton is urging people to stay away from hospital unless it is a serious fall.

She said: “A&E is there to help the sickest people and treat the most urgent emergencies, and we would always advise anyone who thinks their condition or injury is very urgent or life-threatening to call 999 or go to A&E immediately.

“However, most falls and trips do not require treatment at A&E – and in fact you might be asked to seek help elsewhere if you arrive at A&E inappropriately.

“If assessment is required, our Minor Injuries Units are often best placed to carry that out, so we would urge anyone who has suffered a fall to call NHS24 on 111.

“They will be able to give you the advice you need, including directing you to a Minor Injuries Unit if required.”