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Friday 13 March is Ride2School Day, an initiative encouraging school-aged children and teenagers to hop on their bikes and ride instead of getting a lift to school. And it’s the perfect opportunity to reassess the 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. It’s not just about physical health either— 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 aged five-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.

National data indicates that only 19 per cent (one in five) Australian children and young people aged five–17 years meet the national daily physical activity guidelines of accumulating at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day of the week.

Active transport has the potential to make a substantial contribution to children’s daily physical activity and Ride2School Day is a great opportunity to introduce it.

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 can even discuss what you learn with your family.