Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Developing a love of walking and cycling in the next generation

With the technological breakthroughs we have seen in the past few years in transport, it is not surprising to find that the number of people that walk and cycle is not rising as fast as governments would hope. We need to be active to stay health, but many of us are living sedentary lives.

There is buzz all around the web on the supposed future of air travel with windowless planes, and Ferrari is making  invite-only cars. New travel technology is engraving on our minds the fact that travel should be as luxurious as possible. There is very little noise being made about the benefits of walking and cycling. Sure we have seen Cycle to work schemes, and other attempts at societal culture shifts, but they are not having sufficient impact. This is not good, especially when you consider the plethora of benefits that individuals and the environment stand to gain if the next generation is groomed to love walking and cycling.  There are plenty of bikes for kids inthe market, small MTB, BMX stunt bikes or pedometers, and they are just some of the tools you can call on to try and get your young ones get into the walking and cycling cultures early. 

What are the benefits?

Health improvements

Walking and cycling can help lower blood pressure and improve the general condition of the heart.  Considering thethreat posed by various heart diseases for UK citizens each year, it is unfortunate that more young people are not being groomed to love walking and cycling.  Both activities also improve mental health and well-being. 

Easy stress and weight management

Not many people can afford to spend time daily in the gym. This is why a lot of people only visit the gym on weekends. This is however, not enough; especially when you consider the fact that alcohol and fatty foods get consumed more on these days.  By walking or cycling however, the individual is able to burn calories without having to devote special time for gym sessions. Think cycle to work!

Improved fitness

Most regular cyclists don’t need gym sessions to stay fit. Their joints and muscles get enough exercise and also enough rest in-between rides leaving them much fitter than the average person.

Less inhalation of fumes

Imagine the atmosphere on a busy morning in a congested area of the country. While waiting in traffic, people who are not in air-conditioned vehicles have to endure the loud blare of horns as well as the heavy fumes emanating from the hundreds of vehicles caught up in the traffic. Walking or cycling means you can take short cuts or walk past heavy traffic without spending as much time in a polluted environment. Over time more cyclists will mean less pollution too!

It saves money

You only need to take a look at the cost of keeping your car running to understand how much you stand to save if you walk, jump on a bus, or cycle most of the time.

Faster navigation

Research suggests that by walking or cycling, you can get to places faster than people who are waiting for the bus or those driving their own cars.

Safer environment and safer roads

You may take steps to reduce the carbon-footprint in your home but by cycling or walking, you save the environment from your vehicle fumes for that day. Imagine the effect if 80% of car owners decided to drop their cars for two days or more each week! City environments would certainly improve if more people cycled and less drove.

These are just some of the reasons you should get everyone in your family to go against the norm and embrace cycling and walking as a way of life. 

Disclosure: This is a guest post