How can you get Active with your Transportation?

The following guest post is brought to us by local guest blogger Rebecca of the blogs Relish and Everything is ticketyboo!

What is Active Transportation?

So, what is this “Active Transportation” thing that all the kids are talking about? It’s just as simple as it sounds – Active Transportation (AT) is any form of human-powered transportation. Rather than sitting passively in a car or on a train, you have to be “active” to get to your destination. Get it?

While it doesn’t specifically exclude recreation, the emphasis is on getting from point A to point B without using a motorized vehicle. And, it’s totally ok if you break your travels into part active and part passive transit. (And all this time you’ve been walking to the bus stop without giving it a second thought. Go you!)

More than cycling or walking

When we think of Active Transportation, we immediately think cycling or walking, but don’t forget about canoeing, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing, pogo-sticking, rollerblading, skateboarding and even wheel-chairing (in a manual chair, of course.) Note: pushing your kid in a stroller or pulling them in a wagon is only “active” for one of you, but we’ll still give you double points.

I have been making a point of including more AT, specifically cycling, in my day-to-day activities. My crazy schedule (and the amount of STUFF that I leave the house with every morning) prevents me from taking part full-time, but I am trying to do what I can. For the past few weeks, I have been keeping my car garaged for at least one day per week. I know it’s not much, but it’s a start.

What would you do on a car-free day?

Since making my pledge to be more transportationally active (pretty sure that’s what it’s called), I have mostly been using my car-free days to visit friends and run-errands. I am limited by what my bike basket will hold, so I can’t do a week’s worth of grocery shopping or take the lawn-mower in for servicing, but trips to the bank or bookstore are perfect. I have even managed to get my son in on the fun (WITHOUT the promise of ice cream or Slurpees.)

Benefits of Active Transportation

I tip my helmet to everyone who chooses AT for their daily commute, but even limiting yourself to ONE day of Active Transportation per week can have big benefits. How so?

1. It’s economical

Have you seen the price of gas? And parking? AT ranges from completely free (walking) to a couple hundred bucks for a bike, helmet, lock, and basket or pannier. (The basket is optional, but, to be honest, I wouldn’t survive without mine.) Even with yearly maintenance, it’s good for your bottom line.

2. It’s healthy

Experts recommend that we all get a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week. An hour spent running errands fulfills nearly half that. Plus, according to the Map My Run app (which I use religiously/obsessively when I am riding), a 15km bike ride at a good clip burns around 500 calories. (Did someone say ice cream…?) And, that’s just using cycling as an example. Walking, skipping or dancing your way to the bus stop or coffee shop is good for your *ahem* bottom line, too.

3. It’s environmentally friendly

Short car trips are the worst for the environment and for your car. Emissions are at their worst before vehicle engines reach their peak operating temperature – 60 per cent higher, on average. According to the WorldWatch Institute, “a short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe.” If your destination is less than 6 kms away, consider your AT-ernatives!

4. Exposure to new things

Are you convinced yet? How about this – AT exposes you to all sorts of things that you would never see in your climate-controlled car. There’s a whole world of sights, sounds and smells out there, not to mention secret trails and shortcuts just waiting to be discovered.

I would love to hear how you are making Active Transportation part of your lifestyle. Comment below for your chance to win a commuter-friendly water bottle and Be Well Prize Pack.*

Be Well…Rebecca

Guest blogger Rebecca in canola fieldRebecca is a Certified Spinning Instructor, fitness instructor, blogger (Relish and Everything is ticketyboo! ), artist, reluctant morning person, and notorious killer-of-plants. She lives in a foliage-free home with her teenage son, Jacob.

*Contest closes on this post Juy 19, 2013. Winner will be notified via email and listed in the comment section below. Full contest rules are available here.



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