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German doctors advise the public walk the way penguins do when on ice

Bob Lowden, an American music composer, wrote a stirring march called Penguins on Parade, now we are not sure if this inspired a group from the German Society of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery to advise people to mimic penguins when the footpaths are covered in ice, no we think that there was another very good reason.

German weather forecasters are telling us that there are going to be freezing temperatures forecast nationwide over the next few days. The advice, recently published on the internet is that imitating penguins when walking means that the torso is forward, and therefore the centre of gravity, is over the front leg.

When humans walk, we are generally in a more upright position with our centre of gravity being split between our two legs; this means that falling on a slippery surface is considerably greater. Now of course our aquatic bird friends have evolved over many millennium in places such as the South Atlantic and Antarctic adapting remarkably to those icy conditions when on shore, some would say we sensibly stuck to our caves when it became icy outside!

The reasoning behind the German publication follows on from the failure by Municipal authorities in Berlin, who had been severely criticised for not dressing the German capital’s pavement with rock salt in 2014 after a warning had been issued by meteorologists concerning the onset of a freeze.

Inevitably the emergency services received 750 emergency calls and emergency rooms were overstretched with patients with bone fractures and understandably they do not want a repeat of that winter.  With temperatures forecast to fall in Berlin to minus 10 degrees Centigrade on Saturday, perhaps the Berlin A&E departments will cancel all off duty and have a full team ready and waiting, unless of course, Berliners emulate our flightless friends.



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