National Ride2School day 2011 – not a once off

Young boy and his father ride their bikes across a bridge on the way to school.

Ride to school: active kids are healthier kids and riding to school reduces morning traffic congestion.

There is no doubt over the years relationships between mums and dads are strengthened when there is a common goal and lots of fun involved. Cycling is a family activity with untold benefits and it is not just a weekend recreational activity but can well be an everyday of the week. Cycling is a community activity whether it be for recreation of health and well being or a mode of transport the body and mind is invigorated.

A local dad, Kingsley, is very excited about the opportunity to share the roads and pathways with his son and daughter and join the cycling ranks that we hope to see continue to increase in riding to school. Kingsley has signed up to be a parent support of cycling skills and other activities to encourage families to give cycling to school a go and beyond the school days.  Kingsley is encouraging his local school community to register for National Ride2School Day, 16 March, to reinvigorate students’ journeys to school as an effective response to preventable diseases like diabetes and obesity.

Ms Mary Akiki, Ride2School Team Manager said it was important to find ways for children to get the recommended minimum 60 minutes of physical activity each day and riding, scooting, skating or walking to and from school was a great way to do it. “National Ride2School Day is great opportunity for children – and their parents and teachers – to get a taste of just how much fun and easy riding or walking to school can be. In the 1970s more than 80% of kids rode or walked to school, that number has fallen to only 20% today even though the majority of students live within 2 kilometres of the school gate. The new school year has started with reports on how busy the roads are with cars doing the school run.

“Many kids are being driven relatively short distances to school, trips that are easily ride or walkable, and are missing out on a great chance for some exercise to be incorporated into their day. Parents might think about completing the journey with their children at first so they become familiar with the neighbourhood and can learn about how easy these journeys can be and also discuss the challenges that even short trips can have.”

National Ride2School Day – one of Australia’s largest celebrations of active travel – sees a 58% increase in riding. Schools across the country are encouraged to register for free and participate to encourage levels of physical activity. “Children who develop a healthy, active lifestyle when they are young are much more likely to maintain those habits in adulthood, and National Ride2School Day is a great way to start or celebrate being active.” said Ms Akiki.

Schools or parents looking for advice, strategies, tips and further information on active travel – including how to map out the safest route to school – can visit the Ride2School website.

Some additional facts that the 16th of March will create –

  • One of Australia’s largest celebrations of active travel to school
  • One day on the calendar where students, parents, teachers and schools across Australia can embrace active travel and encourage students to give riding, scooting or walking to school a go
  • It is free for schools to sign up, and no costs need be involved on the day and the  Celebrity Ambassadors: Mark Beretta, Sunrise Sports Presenter & Dylan Lewis, Nova100, Video Hits and recent convert to the joy of bike-riding also encourage you to participate.

Health Statistics are always a good reasons to consider your behaviour change  such as – 1 in 4 Australian children is overweight or obese. If trends continue 1 in 2 children will be overweight or obese by 2020. About 80% of obese adolescents will become obese adults. The frightening statistic is that on average, every day there are two new cases of Type 1 diabetes in Australian children.

Physically active children are healthier, happier and more socially connected than children who have more sedentary lifestyles. Some other known benefits are cycling increases students’ time outdoors, away from the TV and computer. When students actively get to school they feel more self-sufficient, an essential part of education and the development of social skills. Arriving at school after an active journey means students arrive awake and alert, improving their concentration in class. There is the added reduction in traffic congestion around the school and contribution to a greener environment.

Well done Kingsley in showing a leading role and commitment to this program.

Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing

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