The NHS is telling people to ‘waddle like penguins’ to avoid slips and falls amid plunging temperatures.

Walking with your legs apart, a soft knee bend and arms sticking out can reduce the risk of losing balance on the ice, according to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

While admitting it ‘might seem silly to walk or waddle like a penguin’, the board said ‘penguins know best’ when it comes to getting around on ice.

And the alternative, it said, might be a nasty injury and time in hospital from a fall — the most common accidents at this time of year.

The advice has been issued as parts of the UK are expected to reach -15C (5F) this evening, which would make it the coldest January night in 14 years. The last time the mercury dropped that low was in January 2010, when -22.3C (-8.1F) was recorded.

Walking with your legs apart, a soft knee bend and arms sticking out can reduce the risk of losing balance on the ice, according to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Pictured: NHSGGC staff demonstrating penguin walking pose

Walking with your legs apart, a soft knee bend and arms sticking out can reduce the risk of losing balance on the ice, according to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Pictured: NHSGGC staff demonstrating penguin walking pose

The Met Office has issued amber warnings for snow across North West Scotland and the Northern Isles, meaning road delays are likely, some vehicles could be stranded and rural communities might be cut off.

Giving full instructions, the NHS board said to slightly bend your knees and point your feet outwards, then extend your arms by your side and walk flat-footed, taking short steps, while keeping your centre of gravity over your feet.

NHSGGC said this is safer than normal walking, as it helps with stability and minimises the risk of losing balance and slipping on the ice.

It urged people who do fall on the ice to only show up at A&E if their condition is very urgent or life-threatening.

In less severe cases, people should call 111 for advice, which may involve seeking help at a minor injuries unit.

Dr Emilia Crighton, director for public health at NHSGGC, said: ‘At this time of year — and especially in icy spells like this one — slips, trips and falls are the most common accidents that result in injury.

‘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.’

She also urged people to support their elderly family members and neighbours by making journeys on their behalf — such as doing their shopping and collecting prescriptions — so they can avoid going out in icy conditions.

The NHS often issues advice for avoiding slips, trips and falls in cold and icy weather.

It often includes recommendations to keep the hands free to help with balance, wearing shoes with good grip and avoiding going out early in the morning when frost is thick or late at night when it’s dark.

Older people are especially vulnerable and are at higher risk of broken bones from a fall, which can see them lose confidence and become withdrawn, the NHS says. 

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