As primary school kids in metro Melbourne join their regional peers in heading back to the classroom, AFL great Cameron Mooney and VicHealth are encouraging families in getting active on their commute with Walk to School 2020.
This comes as new findings from a VicHealth survey shows more than 1 in 4 Victorian households with kids have been doing more walking or bike riding during the pandemic than they did in January and February this year.
Cameron Mooney, a former Geelong and North Melbourne forward, said regular walks and bike rides have helped his family stay well in lockdown.
“In lockdown my wife, kids and I got into a healthy routine of getting out most days for walks or bike rides in between remote classes. It’s been nice to spend quality time together and get outside of the house,” Mooney said.
“Now that the kids are back in the classroom, we’re trying to keep up the routine by walking or riding to school with some families who live nearby. It’s really important for them to enjoy the benefits of regular exercise from an early age.”
Walk to School is celebrated in term 4 2020 and families can get involved by riding, walking, skating or scooting.
To add some extra fun to school trips, Bicycle Network's Ride2School program has a challenge for children to track how far they ride and become an active champion.
Students can download a Ride2School Active Challenge checklist and clock up distances equivalent to a trip up the Eiffel Tower and laps around Uluru to become a champion.
VicHealth Executive Manager Programs Group Kirstan Corben said getting active on the way to school has many benefits, especially during the pandemic.
“This year has been an incredibly challenging time for Victorians, but a silver lining has been to see so many families walking and riding around their neighbourhoods during lockdown,” Ms Corben said.
“Walking, riding, scooting or skating to school has enormous benefits for our kids’ physical health, but it also helps build confidence, independence and improve road safety skills.
“Travelling by bike or foot can also help ease traffic on our roads and near schools, which is important for keeping the roads safe and to help with physical distancing.
“With the weather warming up and many parents working from home, it’s an ideal time to make physical activity part of the term 4 routine.”
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.