It’s been a difficult winter so far. The very cold and inclement weather not only puts you at risk for hypothermia, but also means you need to be extra careful while walking outside. If you’re bundled up or wearing clumsy boots, you are more at risk for falling, which can be a catastrophic event for seniors. Of course, your basic and best defense is to exercise and build muscle strength to avoid a fall or at least minimize its damage. The Harvard Health Letter has some good basic tips for maintaining and boosting your balance to avoid a fall in the first place. But there are additional and precautionary steps you can take during the winter for extra protection. For example, how about carrying a baggy of kitty litter when you’re outside, in case you spy an icy patch. Take a look at more practical ideas from The National Council on Aging Here. You may have also seen the recent article in the New York Times about Dutch efforts to teach seniors how not to fall, or protect themselves if they do. But you might also want to take a look at a new Consumer Reports story on protecting yourself from winter falls, including the suggestion to take short, flat “penguin-like” steps as a way to tread carefully. Bottom line: no matter how you do it, the goal is to stay upright and vertical!