Let’s Get Fit for School —Mentally & Physically!

A parent bikes alongside their child

After months of sedentary social-distancing and now with limited school bus service, it’s an ideal time to get kids walking or biking to school. 

Monday, September 28th – Sunday, October 4th is Active Transportation Week with a range of physically distant and active events across BC.  Students, families, teachers and school staff that ride their bike can win prizes by registering with GoByBikeBC

But the real prize comes with the journey.  Children and youth who walk or ride to school start their day with a good dose of physical activity – which is important for healthy bodies and brains.  This is especially important these days.  Living through a pandemic has taken a significant toll on children’s physical and mental health.

UBC researcher, Dr Guy Faulkner found in a national survey that there’s been a steep decline in children’s activity with COVID-19.  This recent count indicates that less than 24% of children are active enough to meet recommended levels for healthy child development.

The research connecting school success and physical activity is well known. On top of this, a growing body of evidence is showing that regular activity in childhood is essential for a healthy brain and leads to improved problem-solving, creativity, stress-management and ability to cope with anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Walking or biking to school is a great way to make physical activity a regular habit while also getting kids ready to learn (literally!)

Active Transportation Week can be a fun way to introduce children to the idea of walking or taking a bike instead of the car. With friends and the broader school community participating, kids will be keen to join the action. Parents of teenagers that participated in the climate strikes may have fun suggesting that marching to school is just as effective in demonstrating their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Once the routine is established, parents will enjoy being free from the chore of driving or replacing a hectic drive with a walk or bike and that’s going to feel good for everyone.

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