Originally published: May 2021

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Spring in in the air, and kids and adults alike are eager to get outside. There’s never been a better time to dust off the bike or lace up the running shoes! This May, get your family moving with active travel. It’s about using human-powered ways to go from one place to another—walking or running, or using gear like bikes, scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, strollers, and wheel chairs.

Active travel with kids can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some family-friendly tips to help you walk or wheel with confidence.

Plan ahead

  • Brainstorm with your kids about places you can walk or wheel instead of drive. For example:
    • Bike or scooter to school or childcare, or to a nearby park or playground.
    • Walk to get groceries or take-out.
    • Drive or take transit part of the way to work, and walk the rest.
    • Try out a new bike pathway, hiking trail, or skate park in your local area.
  • Think about your route and points of interest along the way, like landmarks, murals and art, parks, benches, and picnic spots.
  • Dress and pack for the weather and activity. Active travel is possible in all seasons—even in Alberta! Consider items such as locks, water and snacks that you may want to bring.
  • Be aware of current public health guidance. Pack hand sanitizer and masks in case you need them.

Travel safely

  • Consider lighting, sidewalks and pathways on your route. Avoid busy high-speed roads and use marked crossings.
  • Wear the right gear for your activity such as helmets, pads, and proper footwear. Check to make sure your equipment is in good working order before you head out.
  • Put your phone away and take out ear buds while travelling so that you can be aware of your surroundings.
  • Review the rules of the road and pathways.

Give it a try

  • Get out and see where you can go within a few kilometers of your house. Start small and work up to bigger trips. Explore Your 2.4 from Ever Active Schools has fun ideas to help families get moving using mapping technology.
  • If you’re planning an active trip to school, do a trial run on a weekend to get to know the route and how long it takes.
  • Tap into kids’ creativity to turn active travel into a fun adventure or game. Ask kids for their ideas, like puddle jumping, scavenger hunts or a friendly race. My Active Family Bucket List may help with ideas.
  • Set goals as a family. Starting with short, simple trips can build your confidence to take longer trips later. Aim for active travel during at least one trip per week, or try to reach a certain distance travelled this spring or summer, like walking or wheeling the distance from Banff to Lake Louise (58 km).
  • Be realistic about what works for your family. Active travel isn’t going to work every day or for all trips.

Build community

  • Active travel with friends and family can help us stay connected and can be a safe and healthy way to physically distance. Be sure that all active travelers follow current public health guidance.
  • Help spruce up your local area for active travel. Clean up garbage and graffiti, or add flowers, plants, and outdoor art. Ask about getting bike, skateboard and scooter racks installed at community locations.
  • Get involved with active travel plans for your school, workplace, or community.

Active travel as a family is a great way to keep active, reduce the stress of commuting, and experience the benefits of being outside. With a little planning, your family can walk or wheel into an active spring!

Visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca for more tips:

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