- Incorporate exercise into your daily routines by committing to walk/bike if the travel distance is less than 1 km (or distance of your choice). Forced exercise is better than no exercise! Aim to self propel rather than use your car once a week, then increase frequency as much as possible.
- If the grocery store is within walking/biking distance, leave your car at home. Plan a route that has a playground/pond/park en route so the kids associate shopping trips with fun (and not just cookies, though if that is the carrot that works, go with it).We used to put the kids and groceries into our oversized double MEC stroller/bike trailer, but now that they ride their scooters/bikes, I carry a backpack for the groceries. It’s great backpacking training and weight bearing exercise is good for your bones. Tip: In warmer months, play before shopping so your milk doesn’t sour.
- Walk or bike to preschool/school/activities. If you live fairly close, it’s actually quicker to do pickups and dropoffs by bike because you don’t have to deal with the parking lot/roundabout mess. If this is not an option, walk to the schoolbus stop. I see people drive their kids 100 m to the bus stop and then idle their engines for 10 minutes – so disappointing for so many reasons!
- If you already walk or bike to school, take the long way home once a week. We like to take different routes to discover new playgrounds, find geocaches, or meet up with friends. It keeps things interesting and gives the kids a little more exercise and time outside. Tip: Start a crockpot meal in the morning so you don’t have to rush home to make dinner.
- Ride your bikes to the train station and go on an urban adventure by public transit. The kids will love it! In Calgary, take the train to 3rd St SW and go to Prince’s Island Park, or carry on to the Calgary Zoo.
|Hiking in Edworthy Park (note to self: wear rain boots next time to splash in the puddles)|
6. Seek out microadventures! You don’t need to drive far to have an amazing time. Quality time together is so much better than time behind the wheel while your kids watch DVDs in the backseat. By seeking out new trails and parks in our city, we have more time to throw rocks in the river, build a sandcastle, get an ice cream, do some geocaching, or just relax in a beautiful spot without worrying about getting home too late. (We love the mountains, but find we get more bang for our buck – and feel less guilty about polluting – by staying overnight so we don’t drive back and forth as often.)
|Geocaching in town|
|Biking at Nose Hill Park|
Do you try to minimize car use to maximize physical activity? What strategies work for your family?