Sydney’s seniors are being encouraged to get active with a new City of Sydney guided walking tour that shows how the city can be both exciting and safe after dark.
Launched to coincide with NSW Seniors Week in March, the After Dinner Walking Group will kick off with a free 40-minute, 1.6-kilometre guided tour of Walsh Bay on Tuesday 18 March.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the new senior’s night-time walking group, a first for the City, was all about encouraging older residents to lead a healthier lifestyle, day and night.
“Senior life shouldn’t just be about nine to five activities – it’s about having a great time at all hours,” the Lord Mayor said. “We found our senior residents didn’t utilise the city after dark as much as our younger resident. This great new walking group will give people a confidence boost and a chance to make new friends.
“The walking group shows the city in a different light for older residents and highlights how alive and enjoyable the city can be at any hour. We know that encouraging a variety of people to use the CBD after dark makes it a safer, more open place that everyone can enjoy.”
While anyone can join the new walking group, it is aimed at Sydney residents aged over 55 and aims to bring together like-minded people who are already active and want to stay fit by walking and exploring Sydney’s outdoor attractions.
The Walsh Bay tour will be led by Luke Mead, Precinct Manager of Walsh Bay, and will include historical sites along the foreshore walk. The tour departs from Pier 2/3 at Hickson Bay Road, and the evening finishes with refreshments at a local café.
Future tours will take place during Vivid in May and June, and the City Of Sydney’s Art and About festival in September. In between these organised walking tours, the groups’ participants will be encouraged to get together regularly to enjoy their own walks in the city.
The After Dinner Walking Group will partner with the City’s Road Safety Officers, who will attend the organised walks to show the group’s members how to safely enjoy the city on foot in the evening.
The Australian Medical Association of NSW is also supporting the launch of the walking group. Vice President Dr Saxon Smith said it was great to see an initiative that encouraged enjoyable ways of keeping fit.
“With sedentary lifestyles on the rise, this new walking group will engage the local community and improve the health of elderly participants,” said Dr Smith. “This will also serve as a great example to younger generations and encourage them to break the habit of reaching for the remote control by going for a walk instead.”
Research reveals that low-impact exercise, such as walking, has a wide range of health benefits for the elderly, including significantly lowering the risk of stroke, reducing the risk of developing type two diabetes, and preventing cardiovascular disease and death.
Waterloo resident Virginia Peloe, 74, has signed up for the first walking group tour, and says she and her friends can’t wait.
“I think the walking group is an excellent idea. We used to go walking during the day, but it was too hot and some of us suffered health issues. Now we are ready to get back into walking, but under the bright stars and not the heat of the sun,” said Ms Peloe. “My friends and I are very excited and I really see this group growing.”
Details of the After Dinner Walking group can be found at cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/seniorsweek To sign up, call (02) 9244 3696, or email firstname.lastname@example.org