Walking: Great exercise but has its dangers

Most of us know that walking is one of the best and safest ways to get physical activity.  It need not be very strenuous to reap significant health benefits and is much easier on joints and muscles than many other activities such as running. Even small increases in light to moderate activity equivalent to walking for about 30 minutes a day, will produce measurable differences.  Regular moderate intensity exercise and a healthy diet may reduce your risk of developing type II diabetes as well as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and depression.

However, many people are injured or killed due to motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents

Botsford's next Walk with a Doc event is Thursday June 21, 2012 at 12pm. Health professionals will be on hand to walk and talk with participants about pedestrian injury prevention. For more info, visit: http://www.facebook.com/events/249098501832273/

every year.  According to the CDC, in 2008 nearly 4,300 pedestrians were killed in road accidents while close to 69,000 were left injured. These statistics highlight the need for becoming educated about what you and your family can do to stay safe while walking or bicycling.  Recklessness of drivers and partly, the negligence of pedestrians can cause accidents while crossing roads.  Both pedestrians and drivers are responsible for road accidents.

What steps can you take to stay safe and enjoy walking or bicycling? Some things to consider are:

  • What is the best type of clothing to wear in low visibility situations?
  • Do you walk or bike with or against traffic?
  • Do you know how to deal with distracted drivers?
  • What are your child’s “pedestrian skills”?
  • Are you aware of what the “bicycle laws” are?
  • Do you know what to look for in a good bicycle helmet?

Get answers to these questions and more on June 21, 2012 when Botsford’s injury prevention coordinator will host a Walk with a Doc.

Finally, some tips to keep you and your family safe while walking or biking:

  1. Be aware.  The best policy when dealing with traffic is to be “situationally” aware and not distracted.  Too many bikers, walkers, joggers, etc. seem to be occupied with their electronic devices like MP3 players and cell phones.  These distractions manage to prevent them from being aware of the changing environment through which they are moving.  Be alert to these situations and know that these individuals may not see you.
  2. Wear retro reflective clothing at dawn and at dusk or in low visibility conditions such as rain or fog.
  3. Be cautious during hours of bright sunlight.  You know those morning and evening hours when the bright sun shines right in your eyes and you can’t see a thing?  Be aware of how bright sun can decrease visibility of both the pedestrian and the driver and you can be proactive in preventing collisions.  Don’t assume that oncoming car can see you in the crosswalk during these hours of the day.

Learn more tips and strategies for making your walk safe and enjoyable in your community. Join us at Botsford Hospital’s Walk with a Doc program on Thursday, June 21, 2012 from 12:00 p.m.  – 1:00 p.m. at Farmington Hills Heritage Park Nature Center. Click here for details.

Resources:

http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Pedestrian_safety/index.html

http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/

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