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Active transportation is your route to better health

Active transportation is your route to better health
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Adding active transportation to your daily routine

BY DEANNA BETTERIDGE
Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, May / June 2010

Active transporation - already a popular way to get around in many cities across the country - is picking up momentum here in Winnipeg.

What on earth is active transportation? That's what I thought the first time I heard the term. But, it really speaks for itself - active transportation (AT for short) refers to any form of human-powered transportation, such as walking, cycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, scooting, wheeling, skiing, snowshoeing, and canoeing to get from one destination to another. Walking and cycling are the most common forms of AT and can easily be combined with public transit to increase convenience.

So, any way that you can actively transport yourself from one location to another, rather than driving, is considered AT.

Incorporating AT into your day has many benefits for you, your family and your community. Actively commuting to work, school or around your neighbourhood can provide you and your family with physical, mental and emotional health benefits. It also increases your sense of community and neighbourhood safety, saves money on costs associated with driving and helps the environment by reducing CO2 emissions and air pollution.

One of the main reasons we've had increased buzz around AT is because the City of Winnipeg is currently working on a very exciting $20.4 million AT program that will increase the opportunities for you to walk and cycle to work, school, shopping and other destinations. When this project is complete, Winnipeggers will be able to access 375 kilometres of AT routes, which will include multi-use pathways, neighbourhood pathways, bike lanes, sharrows, and bike boulevards.

With the increased popularity of AT, along with rising parking costs and environmental concerns, many workplaces and employees are working together to support AT options. There are several resources that employees and employers can access for support .

I know that AT may not work for everyone as their main source of transportation, but my hope is that everyone will pause and try to find one place in their day or week that they'd be able to include it. By including AT, you are including physical activity into your day - which is a great way to get your 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity. You are going there anyway, so try to make the trip even more worthwhile by actively commuting!

Do you have an active transportation story or tip? If so, send us an e-mail at getactive@winnipeginmotion.ca.

Deanna Betteridge is a co-ordinator with Winnipeg in motion.

Wave

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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