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Get Ahead Kids® Feature Article
Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 4, No. 2 - March/April 2012

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Cycling for Family Health

Physical inactivity is a major contributor to poor health in Australia. Approximately half of the Australian population doesn't get enough daily activity, which significantly increases their risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. A lack of physical activity also increases the risks of breast and bowel cancer, depression and anxiety.

Increasing your physical activity through riding a bike is an effective method of improving health and fostering social connections.

The potential of riding a bike to increase physical activity levels in families is significant, as cycling:

  • Can be undertaken by a variety of people of different ages & fitness levels
  • Is affordable
  • Can be done as a family & easily integrated into family life
  • Is a great form of transport
  • Reduces environmental impact
  • Appeals to people who wish to avoid high impact forms of physical activity
  • Can introduce life-long healthy habits

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Australia. In the last ten years, there has been a 45% increase in the number of adults choosing to ride a bike, a trend which does not appear to be slowing.

In 2011, in a typical week, over four million Australians chose to ride a bike for fun, transport or sport.

Methods for encouraging cycling include:

  • Prioritising forms of active travel including riding & walking to schools over cars (this will make it safer for all children)
  • Behaviour change programs targeting ride to work & school
  • Including bicycle education in school curriculums for all students
  • Social marketing campaigns including TravelSmart, Ride to School & Ride to Work
  • Creating an urban design environment more conducive to cycling
  • Providing safe, attractive & enjoyable on and off road bicycle routes
  • Encouraging role models to ride including teachers and students

These programs can be successful in encouraging people to take up cycling or ride a bicycle more often.

As Australians continue to lead increasingly busy lifestyles, cycling is in a unique position for its ability to enable people to integrate physical activity into everyday living.

Cycling offers a wide range of additional benefits when used as an alternative to the private automobile. Cycling is a carbon neutral, petrol free form of transport, simultaneously helping Australians fight climate change and reduce fuel costs.

More Information

Cycling Promotion Fund
Ground floor, 616 St Kilda Rd Melbourne VIC 3004
P: 03 9533 3172
www.cyclingpromotion.com.au


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