Should I shuffle or just run on ice?

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RKA

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Should I shuffle or just run on ice?
« on: 07/02/2009 21:30:02 »
Roger K Adams  asked the Naked Scientists:
   I live in snowy and cold Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where the winter is the dominant season, and this year it's no different.  We essentially lose sight of bare sidewalks and grass for several months each year usually, as they get snowed under, and this eventually turns to thick and very slick ice after a few weeks.  Short of some very energetic chipping, it's impossible to remove and therefore usually isn't.

We tend to do the seniors shuffle as we walk anywhere, especially when the ice is hidden under a skim of snow, which affords absolutely no grip whatsoever.  Caution and slow and steady is the way to go, sliding the feet forward without actually lifting them up when it's particularly bad.

Anyway, this past week we had an even worse combination when it actually rained, which left the sidewalks the most treacherous I have ever known them to be.  It was like wet ice on wet ice and absolutely deadly as the rain didn't actually melt the existing ice, just made it much more slick than usual.
 
Anyway, as I was attempting to walk to work, one slow slide-step at a time, a young lady literally dashed past me at full speed (she was running for the bus, which she made without mishap). I noticed that she was literally sprinting, giant strides, et al. She didn't appear to have any special footwear on, just basic sneakers.  I have noticed that some joggers of both sex run all through the winter and I've often mused to myself that they are asking for a serious spill when they run on ice but I've never seen it happen.
 
So, my question is this. Does increasing speed somehow make traction on ice improve, perhaps because there's less contact time per step? Has age got something to do with it (better sense of balance perhaps). Should I throw caution to the wind and gaily lope to  work instead of slip-stepping it to work?
 
Great show! I never miss it so keep up the good work.
 
Looking forward to your response.
 
Roger Adams

What do you think?

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Offline chris

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Should I shuffle or just run on ice?
« Reply #1 on: 07/02/2009 23:04:28 »
I say do neither - drive instead, it's easier!

Chris
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Offline JnA

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Should I shuffle or just run on ice?
« Reply #2 on: 07/02/2009 23:15:50 »
Maybe her feet aren't in contact with the ground enough for the ice to melt under her shoes... or for the ice to melt just enough with the tread to provide a nice suction.


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Offline Vern

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Should I shuffle or just run on ice?
« Reply #3 on: 08/02/2009 00:40:12 »
If you are you are young and resilient, run and enjoy; If you are old and fragile like me; shuffle, and be careful. [:)]

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Offline JnA

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Should I shuffle or just run on ice?
« Reply #4 on: 08/02/2009 00:41:43 »
I'd be tempted just to wear skates

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Offline LeeE

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Should I shuffle or just run on ice?
« Reply #5 on: 08/02/2009 01:09:05 »
She was probably wearing spikes.  If you don't want to be so energetic, get some hobnails fitted to a pair of warm boots.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline Soul Surfer

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Should I shuffle or just run on ice?
« Reply #6 on: 08/02/2009 11:35:36 »
Nailed or spiked boots and running shoes is the answer  If i happened regularly in the UK I would make sure I had some.  One or two spiked trecking poles can make a big difference to stability if you have only ordinary boots
Learn, create, test and tell
evolution rules in all things
God says so!

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Offline daveshorts

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Should I shuffle or just run on ice?
« Reply #7 on: 09/02/2009 10:33:56 »
The really important thing when walking on a slippery surface is not to apply horizontal forces as you have no grip. You can do this in two ways, the low risk way which is to keep your centre of gravity over your feet all the time which ends with the old age shuffle, or you can do this dynamically by running at a constant speed.  The running option will work fine as long as you keep on going in a straight line at a constant speed (on the flat), but if you have to go round a corner or stop it is all going to get a bit messy.