With warmer weather on the horizon and gas prices skyrocketing, it’s a great time to start leaving your car behind and lacing up your sneakers instead.
We’re not suggesting that you park your car forever, but to consider some occasions when you could use active transportation instead of driving. Every family’s situation is different. Some families use active transportation once a week as they walk home from school together on a Friday afternoon. Other families walk or bike to school every morning. Some families drive part way, park 5 or 10 minutes away from school, and walk the rest of the way together. No matter how active transportation fits into your lifestyle, there are countless benefits associated with it.
Good for Your Health and More!
Not only is active transportation great for your health, but it also improves school zone safety and air quality, builds a sense of community, and develops lifelong habits. Walking to school is a great way for children to be active, and has many benefits such as improving physical and mental health, increasing attention span and academic performance, reducing anxiety, and building self-esteem. Walking also helps children achieve the recommended 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous activity and 1-2 hours of light physical activity per day.
When more people walk to school, it means that there are fewer cars on the road, reducing congestion in the school zone and making it safer for everyone in the community. Fewer cars not only lead to more walkable spaces, but also to improved air quality. By not using a car to get to school, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. This also contributes to helping meet Ontario’s target of a 30% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030.
Using active transportation helps people get to know their neighbourhood and builds a sense of community. As families walk to school or to the bus stop, they build relationships with each other and the neighbours that they see along the way. Walking to school builds lifelong habits, as active transportation becomes routine. Studies show that children who walk, cycle, or ride a bus for transportation, at least some of the time, are likely to grow into young adults who walk, cycle, and use transit. By walking to school, children build positive attitudes toward active and sustainable transportation – benefiting themselves and the planet!
We know it may not work with everyone’s lifestyle to make every trip an active one, but even making one trip a week using active transportation can make a big difference!
This great new resource, highlighting the benefits of active transportation, is available in the ten most commonly spoken languages in Ottawa, including English, French, Arabic, Mandarin, Spanish, Cantonese, Farsi, Vietnamese, Somali, and Russian. Download a copy (or copies) to share with your school community!