Photo Credit: www.pedbikeimages.com/danburden
Walking for Senior Health
In older adults, a lack of physical activity, along with
the effects of natural aging, can lead to a 20 to 40 percent
muscle loss. This change can make it difficult to walk, get
up out of a chair or drive. However, regular exercise can
help maintain a healthy lifestyle, mobility and independence.
Regular exercise doesn't necessarily mean taking an aerobics
class or running in a 10K race. Older adults can keep agile
and strong simply by fitting a 35-minute walk into their daily
schedules. "Walking is a tremendously good activity for senior
citizens. It's cheap, it's simple, almost anybody can do it.
Walking has a multitude of health benefits for everyone. Even
men and women into their nineties can see major increases
in cardiovascular fitness and strength with regular physical
activity," according to Dr. Michael Pratt of the Division
of Physical Activity and Nutrition at the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC).
NYCDOT works to make streets safer for seniors so they can
stay active, healthy and connected to their communities. NYCDOT
also educates seniors on ways they can protect themselves
on the streets.
Safe Streets for Seniors
In 2008, the city launched Safe Streets for seniors, a major
pedestrian safety initiative aimed at making New York City streets
friendlier for seniors. As part of the program, NYCDOT examined
accident records across the city and identified 25 city neighborhoods
that have an overlap between high density of senior citizens
and a high number of pedestrian accidents or injuries. To help
figure out how to improve street safety in these neighborhoods,
the agency looked at variables such as visibility, lighting,
driver behavior and the width of the street.
Agency engineers are evaluating pedestrian conditions in
target areas from a senior's perspective and making both short
and long-term changes such as extending pedestrian crossing
times at crosswalks, shortening crossing distances, altering
curbs and sidewalks, restricting vehicle turns, and narrowing
Since its inception, the Safe Streets for Seniors program
has made improvements in neighborhoods including Flushing,
Queens; Brighton Beach, Brooklyn; Pelham Gardens and University
Heights, Bronx; New Dorp, Staten Island; and Manhattan's Lower
East Side. From 2008 to 2009, senior pedestrian fatalities
Improvement measures will be implemented in the first remaining
nine Phase I areas this year. Studies for the ten Phase II
neighborhoods began in January of 2010.
for a full list of neighborhoods and more information on the
Safety Tips for Seniors
Seniors can stay active and safe with a few simple steps. Most
of us take walking for granted, but DOT encourages seniors to:
See and Be Seen
Stay Safe in Winter Weather
- Dress to be seen by drivers. When walking at dawn
and dusk, it's a good idea to wear light or bright colored
clothing to be more easily seen. At night, carry a flashlight
or wear retroreflective materials.
- Wear sturdy shoes to get proper footing.
- Be aware that snow and other obstacles can obscure a driver's
view and that weather conditions can impair slowing and
increase stopping distances. Pause at the curb and look
for oncoming traffic before crossing, and don't assume a
driver can see you.
- If winter weather is slowing you down, wait for a fresh
"WALK" sign before crossing. That way you won't get stranded
in the middle of the crosswalk when the light changes.
- Walk with a friend, and look out for each other.
Grandparents Safety Days
Nearly 1,000 people participated last week in DOT and Safe Kids New York City's Annual Grandparents Safety Day events, at hospitals and senior centers across the city. Seniors received special gift bags filled with safety tips and information on pedestrian, passenger and driver safety, home safety, fire safety, poison prevention, and medication management. Safety quizzes, available in English, Spanish and Chinese, tested their knowledge of these safety issues and gave them facts to share with their children and grandchildren.
Forward this email to a friend and tell them to sign
up for monthly safety tips from DOT's Office of Safety
Education, at: www.nyc.gov/dotnews.
Bike Helmet Fittings
While supplies last, the official
New York City bicycle helmet will be fitted and distributed
free of charge at DOT Safety
City locations. Call 311 to find out more. Helmets will also be fitted at the following upcoming events:
Friday, March 5, 10 AM-3 PM
Pratt America-Goes Green
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn (in the gymnasium, 20 Willoughby Ave)
Tuesday, March 30, 11 AM-3 PM
Go Green Week at Pratt
Pratt Institute, Brooklyn (outdoor location TBA)
Saturday May 1, 11 AM-3 PM
Earth Day Rockaway
Beach 29th St. on the Boardwalk, Far Rockaway, NY
You must be present to get a helmet and you must learn how
to properly fit and wear it before you receive it. Adults
over 18 receiving a helmet must sign a waiver, and a parent
or legal guardian must be present to sign a waiver for children
under age 18. Supplies are limited. If you cannot attend these
events, you can schedule a fitting for an NYC helmet at one
of the DOT's Safety Cities by calling 311.
Car Seat Inspections
Call 311 for an appointment for a free child
car seat inspection at a DOT Fitting Station. Please note
that we cannot accept walk-ins. DOT Child Car Seat Fitting
Station locations can be found here
or come to a car seat check event.
For a complete list of events, see NYCDOT's event calendar.
More Safety Resources:
New York City Department of Transportation's Safe Streets
Health Benefits of Walking from AARP
for Seniors and Longevity