The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has launched a new website promoting active school travel as a “safe and healthy choice for students and families.”

“We know that children in Simcoe Muskoka are not getting enough physical activity to be healthy,” says the Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner. “One of the easiest ways for kids to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily is to walk and wheel more often to the places they need to go – like school.”

The new website serves as a “one stop shop” for information and resources on how to get kids up and active.

“The benefits of active school travel extend beyond increased physical activity,” Gardner says. “When more students are walking or wheeling, school zones see a decrease in traffic congestion making them safer. Fewer cars improve air quality, reducing the risk of lung illnesses like asthma while supporting good brain development. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions to help fight climate change which protects both human and environmental health.”

Gardner adds that it could also help with children’s mental health.

“On the Move” is a collaborative project led by the health unit in partnership with several local school boards, municipalities and community partners, with the goal of increasing the number of students in Simcoe Muskoka using active forms of transportation to and from school.