14 March 2019
Friday 22 March is Ride2School Day, an initiative encouraging school-aged children and teenagers to hop on their bike instead of getting a lift to school. And it’s the perfect opportunity to reassess everyday decisions that can have a big impact on your family’s future health.
We know that physical activity is an essential element of good health. It helps children maintain a healthy weight and, importantly, it also helps to reduce lifetime cancer risk. And it’s not just about physical health; being more active is also associated with better psychological and social health too.
Is your child getting enough physical activity?
It’s recommended that children 5-17 years accumulate 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.
But at the moment, a lot of children aren’t meeting these guidelines.
In the 2011–12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, only one in four children aged 5–12 met the physical activity guideline of 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The proportion of children meeting this guideline decreased with age, with only eight per cent of teenagers aged 13–17 accumulating enough physical activity every day.
Why active travel is so important
Today, just 20 per cent of children ride to school. But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, back in the 1970s, only 20 per cent didn’t ride to school.
Seasonal sports training and games might help your children work up a sweat a couple of days a week, but this alone won’t be enough. That’s why it’s a smart idea to incorporate physical activity into their routine—like getting to and from school—so you know they’re being active at least five days a week. After all, active children are more likely to become active adults, and it all starts with habits formed from an early age.
What you can do
Lead by example.
While many children are dropped off to school as part of a car trip to work or errands, why not consider swapping that car trip for a bike ride instead? Although Ride2Work Day is technically in October, there’s no reason why you can’t show your kids how easy it can be to incorporate active travel into your daily routine by riding to work. Visit here for tips on how to prepare for a bike ride.
Register to Ride2School.
Speak to you child’s school about registering for Ride2School Day here and find out how to get involved.
Learn more and start a conversation.
You can read all about the many benefits of active transport here and discuss what you learn with your family.