Sedentary older women who fall at greater risk for motor vehicle crashes

June 03, 2002

Recent research indicates a new potential benefit to walking for exercise: safer driving. Among older women, one of the strongest risk factors for motor vehicle crashes was a history of falling in those who didn't walk for exercise, according to a study published in the March 2002 issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

The group of researchers, led by Karen L. Margolis of the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, explains: "We found a statistically significant interaction between walking for exercise and falling in the past 12 months. The increased risk of motor vehicle crashes among women who fell was primarily restricted to the women who did not walk for exercise."

The study used motor vehicle accident data of 1,416 women aged 65 years and older for whom such data were available. One in three participants had a motor vehicle crash serious enough to generate a police report during approximately six years of follow-up.

The study identified other motor vehicle crash risk factors that can be measured in the clinical setting, such as increased age, increased weekly driving mileage, increased systolic blood pressure drop, and slower foot reaction time.

The findings of Dr. Margolis and her team on the risk factors in motor vehicle crashes among older women are important because it is estimated that by the 2020 there will be 50 million elderly persons eligible to drive in the United States.
The Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences ( is a refereed publication of The Gerontological Society of America, the national organization of professionals in the field of aging (

The Gerontological Society of America

Related Walking Articles from Brightsurf:

Why walking to work may be better for you than a casual stroll
Walking with a purpose -- especially walking to get to work -- makes people walk faster and consider themselves to be healthier, a new study has found.

Spinal cord gives bio-bots walking rhythm
Miniature biological robots are making greater strides than ever, thanks to the spinal cord directing their steps.

These feet were made for walking
Many of us take our feet for granted, but they have a challenging job in the biomechanics department.

Walking sharks discovered in the tropics
Four new species of tropical sharks that use their fins to walk are causing a stir in waters off northern Australia and New Guinea.

Micro implants could restore standing and walking
Researchers at the University of Alberta are focused on restoring lower-body function after severe spinal injuries using a tiny spinal implant.

Walking changes vision
When people walk around, they process visual information differently than at rest: the peripheral visual field shows enhanced processing.

Virtual walking system for re-experiencing the journey of another person
Virtual-reality researchers have developed a virtual-walking system that records a person's walking and re-plays it with vision and foot vibrations.

A large study indicates how cities can promote walking for travel
Coinciding with the European Mobility Week, a study performed in seven European cities focuses on walking for travel, a strategy to increase physical activity in cities.

Robotic cane shown to improve stability in walking
By adding electronics and computation technology to a simple cane that has been around since ancient times, Columbia Engineering researchers have transformed it into a 21st century robotic device that can provide light-touch assistance in walking to the aged and others with impaired mobility.

Water walking -- The new mode of rock skipping
Utah State University's Splash Lab not only reveals the physics of how elastic spheres interact with water, but it also lays the foundation for the future design of water-walking drones.

Read More: Walking News and Walking Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to