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Park The Car, It's Not That Far

10/26/2013 05:51 EDT | Updated 12/25/2013 05:12 EST

Busy schedules and rushed lifestyles are leading us to drive everywhere, even when our end destinations are within reasonable walking distance. In fact, in the past decade (2000 to 2010), the proportion of five to 17-year-olds using only inactive modes of transportation to get to and from school has increased from 51 per cent to 62 per cent.

On the heels of International Walk to School Month, ParticipACTION is challenging Canadians to park our cars and engage in active transportation for all destinations that are less than one kilometre in distance. Whether walking, biking, wheeling, in-line skating, or even skateboarding to get to and from destinations -- active transportation is a great way for us to boost our health and reduce our carbon foot print -- and it won't hurt your cheque book either!

In fact, if children walked for all trips of less than one kilometre rather than being driven, they would take an average of 2,238 additional steps per day! This translates to approximately 15-20 minutes of walking and has the potential to make a substantial contribution to the 60 minutes of daily physical activity they require for overall health.

Not only does active transportation improve overall health, but it is a great way for families to stay active, and spend time together, throughout the seasons. And the best part about active transportation? It is easy to implement into all lifestyles! Here are a few tips for incorporating active transportation into your life:

• Encourage and support your children to engage in active transportation to and from school

• Take turns leading a walking school bus with other parents in your neighbourhood

• Instead of driving to recreational activities like hockey or dance class, factor some extra time to walk

• Park the car a short distance from school or other destinations, and walk the rest of the way when it is not possible to walk the whole way

• Rather than driving to the grocery store, why not make it a fun family activity and walk or bike?

Do you have fun ways on how to integrate active transportation into your family's lifestyle? Visit ParticipACTION's Facebook page and share your strategies with other parents by joining the conversation.

Try mixing up your routine and get onboard with active transportation this school year. It sets a great example for your children by placing high value on the benefits of physical activity! Park the car, it's not that far!

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