Health Home life


The kids did a walkathon for their school on Thursday, each racking up six laps of the 1km circuit. Not bad at all, and all for a good cause.

But it does remind me of the issues of of exercise like this. Done regularly, long walks like this are good. Done occasionally, bad. I try to get all of us out for a reasonable walk at least once a week — a walk to the park (15 minutes each way) or the shops, or both, with the encouragement of an icecream or bakery snack on the way back.

When we head over to one of the big shopping centres like Chadstone or Southland, we’ll usually use the bus if it’s a weekday (and therefore the service is usable), but if we drive I’ll deliberately park the car at the opposite end of the centre, and walk through.

Which reminds me of a piece I found recently summing up my car parking philosophy nicely:

He parks in the far corner of the (parking) lot, explaining that it is more logical to do this and then walk for fifteen seconds than it is to spend fifteen minutes looking for a closer space. — describing Randy parking, from Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

By necessity we drive to school, but I’m not fussy about parking nearby. Often we’ll end up a few hundred metres down the road. It’s in stark contrast to some of the parents, who go to some ridiculous lengths to park nearby, often parking illegally on street corners, or getting themselves into spots they have to reverse across intersections to get out of. The school newsletter has rightly been critical of such activity, and I wouldn’t blame the council for doing a traffic rules blitz.

Curiously the school newsletter has also — misguidedly in my opinion — discouraged the large numbers of kids who were riding their bikes to school at one point. While there are safety issues, and so many were doing so that the bikes couldn’t be accomodated in the usual shelter, there is actually a bike path right next to the school, and the more kids riding, the less traffic hassles there’d be, and the healthier the school population would become.

So, the reaction from my kids to all this exercise? Like anything, they’ve got used to it. It becomes part of regular life, they don’t complain, they even enjoy it. And we all get fitter.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

4 replies on “Exercise”

I dropped the kids off at school the other day. I pulled over for 30 seconds, they hopped out, and I drove off. One week later a $61 parking ticket arrived for “parking in a bus zone”. D’oh!

I actually miss walking to and from school these days. I used to hate it (especially when it was freezing or really hot), but I did the regular treks from Flemington down to Maribyrnong often. But then we moved and I had to use public transport… Meh. Evil, expensive necessity.

Contest the fine Roger. There is a difference between “Standing” and “Parking”. At least it’s more obvious than the difference between “Revenue Raising” and “Revenue Protection”. Regular exercise is a joy.

I’m new to Geelong, have an eight month old child, and am searching for a house to buy. Drove past Leopold Primary School and thought – that’s the school for my child – about fifty bicycles lined up outside!

Bicycle Victoria, the bicycle lobby group, have some good resources to help school communities learn about making the most of bicycles, safely.

The risk of a grade five or six dying or being seriously injured getting to or from school has to be much less than developing early diabetes or heart disease from lack of basic exercise.

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