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Tips and Tricks

3 ways to make active transportation a part of your weekly routine

Leave the car at home on your next trip to work or school

mother playing with her sonThis September, back-to-school and work routines are looking a lot different than we’re used to. Families across the country are focused on sending their loved ones back to class or work in the safest way possible.

However, regardless of whether you have kids returning the classroom or family members to the workplace, it’s more important than ever for all of us to be active each and every single day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

With that in mind, we thought it’s the perfect time to talk a little bit about active transportation and why more Canadians should be utilizing it as a great way to get active. Haven’t heard of active transportation or why it matters? That’s what we’re here for.

What is active transportation & why is it important?

man using a bikeBy definition, active transportation is any form of human-powered travel, with the most popular forms being walking, wheeling or cycling.

But, given that public transit trips include a portion of active transportation at the beginning and end of every journey (walking to-and-from a local bus stop or train station), taking public transit is another popular form that is available to most Canadians – just remember to maintain proper physical distancing protocols if and when you do take transit.

Trips to the mall, grocery store or to-and-from school or work, whatever you are up to, leaving the car at home can be the perfect way to work some active minutes into your week. Remember, Canadian adults (18 years or older) need 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week, while children and youth (five to 17) require 60 minutes of physical activity every single day.

Unfortunately, as noted in the 2020 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, not nearly enough Canadians are reaping the benefits that come along with getting active as a means of transportation. In fact, only 21 per cent of five- to 19-year-olds typically use active transportation. We need to be doing more to incorporate active modes of transportation into our everyday lives.

Improve a lot more than just your health

man with a bike and woman walkingThe benefits of active transportation extend far beyond the physical, as leaving the car at home from time to time will also leave a positive impact on the environment, too. With less cars on the road, you will be helping promote better air quality while reducing harmful emissions.

Oh, and all that saved gas money can work wonders on your budget. What’s not to love about that?

Whether you’re bringing the kids to school, getting to work or simply going to the store to do some shopping, active transportation can help you live your best life possible.

We’ve put together a few pointers to help you do just that. Check out the following tips on how to make active transportation a key part of your weekly routine.

  • Start small – Trying something new, anything new, can be daunting. Uncertainty leads to anxiety and anxiety leads to an unwillingness to push yourself. Don’t overdo it; start small and walk or wheel to school or work only once or twice a week (or even part way, depending on the distance between home and your final destination). Then, once you get more comfortable, push the number of days you leave the car at home to three or four. Pretty soon, the days you use the car will be far outnumbered by the days you don’t.
  • Use Google to get going – You use it in the car all the time to get from Point-A to Point-B, so why not try the same but without the car? Next time you are planning your route, switch the option from driving to walking or cycling. It might take you a bit longer, but the most efficient route will be laid-out for you in seconds.
  • Try something new – Sure, walking and biking are the two most popular forms of active transportation, but there are many different ways you can actively move around. Hit up a neighbour and borrow their scooter or ask your nephew or granddaughter if you can borrow their rollerblades or skateboard. As long as you are wearing the right protective gear and are taking your time, you can have a lot of fun while (safely) getting to where you need to be.

Download the (free!) ParticipACTION app & get rewarded for all your active minutes!

The ParticipACTION app is the active app for everyone. It’s available for download, for free, in the Apple App Store as well as Google Play. Keep track of all your active minutes and earn some sweet prizes while you’re at it!

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