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Boost Your Immune System with Vitamin C(ycling)

16 Mar

We all know we need to eat healthy and exercise regularly if we want to be in good health. It’s also known that the key to exercising regularly is choosing a form of exercise that you really enjoy.  So, if you are a bicycling aficionado there is great news for you. If not, check out why you might want to consider becoming one.

If you want to have the immune system of a twenty year old – a recent study showed that cycling into old age can boost the immune system and keep body fat low. Some of the participants in the study were in their eighties and had the immune system of people in their twenties.

If you want to reduce the risk of heart failure – researchers have also found that aerobic exercise, four to five days a week can reverse or reduce the risk of heart failure. Late-middle age participants who led a sedentary lifestyle who started a regular exercise program, 4 -5 times a week, 30 min/ day, for 2 years have seen the “reversal of decades of sedentary lifestyle.” The exercise routine included at least one session of aerobic activity a week such as running, brisk walking, and cycling and one high-intensity aerobic session.

And finally, another research study published in the British Medical Journal, found that commuting by bike was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality. Also, mixed mode commuting with a cycling component also lowered the risk of all-cause mortality.  The authors specify that active commuting has health benefits because it contributes to the overall daily physical activity, and bike commuting in particular has greater benefits because it is greater intensity than walking for example.

Whether you cycle for fun or transportation, keep on rolling into good health! For those of you who would like to give it a try and don’t know how to start, let us know, we can help.

Stay healthy and enjoy the ride!

Sources:
Bicycling.com, Bbc.com,
Cyclingweekly.com
Npr.org
BMJ.com
Circulation 

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5 Tips to Help You Spring Forward Safely

2 Mar

This year daylight saving time begins on March 11 at 2:00 am. While the extra sunlight is welcomed and allows us to get more done and fit more exercise into our days, it also comes with a little inconvenience; we lose an hour of sleep. That might not sound that serious, but experts warn that disrupting sleep patterns comes with a few risks. For example the number of heart attacks increases and the number of traffic accidents is higher the day after the time change.  Don’t worry though; there are some things you can do to avoid getting hurt so that you can simply delight in the fact that more sunlight is on its way!

  1. Try to go bed 15 minutes earlier for  few days leading to the time change – this will give your body a chance to get used to the  change gradually
  2. Be alert on the road – sleep deprivation is common after the time change and it can lead to traffic accidents
  3. Put the phone down – don’t drive, bike, or walk distracted
  4. If you have the option, work from home after the time change – this way you avoid distracted drivers and avoid being a drowsy driver
  5. Exercise with care – if you have chronic heart disease and have been inactive for a while, take it easy, start with a slow 30 minute walk

Daylight saving time is also a great reminder to tune up your bike for spring – check your tires, gears, nuts and bolts, or take it to a shop for a tune up. And a great reminder to check your smoke alarms, CO2 detectors, and get rid of unwanted medicines.

Stay safe and stay tuned!

 

Sources:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/simple-tips-to-help-you-spring-forward-smoothly-daylight-saving-time/
https://www.insurancehotline.com/spring-forward-driver-safety-tips/
https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/3/10/14883576/daylight-saving-time-2017-start-spring-forward
http://www.nsc.org/learn/Pages/safety-events-spring-forward-with-safety.aspx

 

Calling All Artists Grades 3 – 5!

16 Feb

The fifth Safe Routes to School Bookmark Design contest is now underway.  Calling Mercer County and Ocean County students in third through fifth grade to show their love of walking by creating an original haiku poem and then illustrate it. The theme of the contest is “Write and draw about USING YOUR SENSES WHILE WALKING AND BIKING. What kind of things do you hear, touch, smell, or see?”

At the end of the contest, we will choose four winners, two from Mercer County and two from Ocean County. The winning bookmark design will be printed and distributed to area schools and local libraries.  The winners will also receive a $50 gift card each.

For more information about the contest, entry form, and the Safe Routes to School Program go to gmtma.org.

National Wear Red Day

2 Feb

Today, February 2, is Go Red for Women Day, wear red to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and help save lives. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. But heart disease is preventable, and by increasing awareness, we can make a difference.

In addition to knowing your numbers (total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and BMI), being physically active helps prevent heart disease. There are many ways to stay active while going about your day. Here are a few ideas:

Staying active while commuting

Studies have shown that active commuting is positively associated with fitness in both men and women, and walking is seen as the most accessible way to increase physical activity.  Also, research shows that active commuting increases adherence to activity recommendations.  When walking or biking the entire commute isn’t possible try incorporating these activities by walking or biking to transit to help achieve your physical activity goals.

Commuting alone is stressful so try joining a carpool or vanpool to reduce the stress of your commute and meet new people.

Staying active around the house

Cleaning your house, doing dishes, gardening, washing the car, carrying groceries and organizing them in your pantry and other chores can help you keep active.

Kids and families activities to keep active 

Kids need at least 60 minutes of exercise per day to stay healthy.  It is best if they can go outdoors and play, bike, hike, and other activities. Allowing your children to walk to school is an easy way for both you and your kids to be active every day. But there are many fun ways to stay active indoors as well – use a Wii Fit to play tennis, baseball, etc., hula hoop, freeze dance, scavenger hunt, balloon volleyball, and more.

Seniors staying active

Walking is a great way for seniors to keep active, but other activities such as swimming and water aerobics can be beneficial for people who can’t walk.

We hope you can incorporate some of these ideas into your daily routine. If you need help finding new ways to incorporate more activity into your daily commute, let us know, we would be happy to help.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2736383/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16905031/

https://www.todaysparent.com/family/activities/15-ways-to-keep-kids-active-indoors-even-if-you-dont-have-much-space/

https://www.goredforwomen.org/fight-heart-disease-women-go-red-women-official-site/get-involved/national-wear-red-day/

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ActivitiesforKids/Activities-for-Kids_UCM_304155_SubHomePage.jsp

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/GettingActive/Family-Fitness_UCM_462373_Article.jsp

Hello 2018!

19 Jan

And good bye 2017! Like most years, 2017 was filled with many good things along with some of the not so good things. Under the good things category, we have seen the expansion of the Princeton bike share, increased awareness for driver education to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety, complete streets adoption in many towns, and the launch of a comprehensive resource for commuters, the njrideshare.com website, among others. But the increase in traffic deaths in NJ, the need for more bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and the poor state of our infrastructure, are some things we would like to see improve.

GMTMA staff hopes for 2018

So, filled with hope and positive outlook, we proceeded to ask the people in our office what would they like to see happen in 2018 and they had a few things to say. Here are some of the things we would hope to see happen in 2018:

  • Fewer cars idling, particularly in cars warming up, people on lunch break  (try not to use your car during your lunch break)
  • more employers promoting vanpooling as a way for their employees to commute to work
  • More women sign up for our Bike to Work Week challenge ( May 19 – May 23, 2018)
  • More children walking and biking to school
  • A NJT bus route from Little Egg Harbor Township, Via Manahawkin, Toms River to Princeton/West Windsor (OK, this one seems like a personal request)
  • A Vision Zero policy for any county or municipality or NJDOT
  • More complete streets projects implemented
  • The last unbuilt section of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail to be completed (won’t be 2018, but maybe by 2020)
  • A Mercer County trails plan
  • Princeton’s (Zagster) Bike Share system expanded into West Windsor and Plainsboro
  • Bike Share in Trenton
  • A Complete Streets policy for Ocean County
  • Fewer aggressive drivers!

We could go on, but we’d like to hear from you!  Let us know what your hopes are for 2018, send us an email or leave a comment on social media.

Happy and Safe New Year!

The New Kid on the GMTMA Block

10 Nov

David is the new mobility planning specialist at Greater Mercer TMA. David received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University with specializations in Political Science and Urban Planning; in 2015 he received his Masters of urban and regional planning from Hunter College in NYC.

 

We asked David a few questions to get to know him better and here is what he had to say:

What is your job at GMTMA?

My job is to help senior citizens, people with disabilities, or people with low incomes learn about and access secure and effective transportation.

What attracted you to this job?

We live in a very car-centric society; we’ve designed our roads and housing developments to be accessed by car. But, what happens when for whatever reason a person doesn’t have or can’t get that access? I want to make sure that those people also have effective options and are not stranded or isolated.

Why is transportation important for you?

Getting from place to place is something everyone has to do; whether we recognize it or not transportation affects everyone’s lives in one way or another. Helping someone learn how to get around may be helping them reconnect with a part of their life they’ve been missing and that’s a powerful thing.

What is a favorite thing about your job?

I like the number crunching route analysis but my favorite part is working with the people who use these services every day.

Something about your commute (walking, biking or using public transportation) or your hobbies:

New Jersey and Mercer County have a lot of natural beauty to offer. One of my biggest pieces of advice to anyone is simply to get out and explore; go by bus, car, foot, bike, or boat but get out there and reconnect with your communities. The more you do it the easier it’ll become.

What motivates you to want to change the way people commute? 

I am motivated by issues of equity, and equality of opportunity. It is our duty to make sure that people’s opportunities are not limited by who they are or where they happen to live.

Where do you stand on the climate change debate? Do you believe climate change is real? 

Climate change is real; scientists agree the climate is changing. Human activity is the main suspect. What are we going to do about?

What is your favorite movie? 

I’m a transportation nerd and an action movie fan so combine those two and you get movies like Speed with Keanu Reeves and Mad Max Fury Road.

Do you have a bumper sticker on your car? Is it anything related to the environment? Transportation?

“If we don’t change where we’re headed, we’ll get where we’re going.”

Favorite transportation/commuting story:

People should use NJTransit’s MYBus feature, it’ll tell you exactly when your bus arrives at your stop. Once I was connecting to a bus at a train station, it was a rainy day and my train was seriously delayed. I thought I was going to miss the last bus connection. We pull into the train station 30 minutes late and 5 minutes after the last bus was supposed to get there. I run down to the bus stop and immediately pull out my phone to see that my bus is also late. It was a huge relief and I knew right away that the bus was going to be there in a couple of minutes. Had I not known that the bus was running late I might have assumed that I missed the last bus and maybe left the bus station early. In this case MYBus saved MYBut.

Favorite commuting app/gadget

The new GPS tracking units now equipping every bus in NJ Transit’s fleet is a real game changer. You don’t have to wonder when the bus will get there and can now know for certain that the bus is coming and when. It takes a lot of stress out of using the NJ buses.

What else would you like to do if you were not working in transportation?

I want to spread the Trenton Tomato Pie concept to the rest of the US.

Pet Peeve: 

My pet peeve is a tendency that exists in a lot of people to jump to conclusions and make broad generalizations or assumptions.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to spend time with my new puppy and go on walks exploring Mercer County.

Favorite foods: 

Did I already say TOMATO PIE?

Thank you David and welcome to GMTMA!

Greater Mercer TMA Awards Businesses, Schools and Municipalities for Leadership in Sustainability and Safety and Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh at the Annual Meeting and Luncheon

30 Oct

Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA), the Regional Transportation Management Association for Mercer and Ocean counties held its Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Princeton, on Friday, Oct 27, 2017. During the event, GMTMA recognized 23 businesses with the 2017 New Jersey Smart Workplaces Award and Municipalities and Schools with the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Recognition Award.

Guest speaker at the event was Gary Toth, the director of transportation at the Project for Public Spaces. He has 45 years experience in transportation engineering and planning, 34 of them with the New Jersey Department of Transportation.  Toth talked about placemaking and transportation’s role in supporting people and place in our communities. To learn more about placemaking, go to https://www.pps.org/about/

Also speaking at the event, GMTMA Executive Director Cheryl Kastrenakes highlighted GMTMA’s work over the last year.

Kastrenakes and Board President Jack Kanarek then recognized West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh for his dedicated service and the following Schools and Municipalities for their efforts to implement SRTS programs with the Safe Routes to School Recognition:

Golden Sneaker Award:  Bay Head Elementary, East Windsor Township, Johnson Park Elementary, Riverside Elementary

Silver Sneaker Award: Hopewell Elementary

Bronze Sneaker Award: Maurice Hawk Elementary, Ocean Road Elementary

GMTMA awarded employers who demonstrated leadership by providing and promoting quality commuter benefits to their employees, therefore reducing congestion and improving air quality with the prestigious New Jersey Smart Workplaces Awards. “It’s is impressive that so many of our awardees, even those already at the Platinum level continue to add more options for their employees,” said Kastrenakes.

The 2017 awardees are:

Platinum Level: A-1 Limousine Inc., Albridge an affiliate of Pershing LLC, BNY Mellon, Amazon, Bank of America, Bloomberg L.P., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Educational testing Service, Horizon NJ Health, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst, Munich Re America, Inc., Municipality of Princeton NJ Department of Transportation, NRG, Princeton University, SRI International, The College of New Jersey.

Gold Level:  University Medical center of Princeton at Plainsboro, REI Princeton

Silver Level:  Greater Mercer TMA, Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Whole Earth Center

Bronze Level: Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals

Exhibitors at the event included Enterprise Rideshare, Zagster Bikeshare, DVRPC, NJTPA, AAA MidAtlantic,  and NJTIP@Rutgers, and Greater Mercer TMA.

Thank you to all the attendees and congratulations to the awardees.