Parents are being urged to help combat obesity by getting into the habit of walking, starting with the journey to school during ‘National Walk To School Week’. This runs from Monday 20th to Friday 24th May 2013.
Whatever the weather, health and wellbeing company Activ8rlives always encourages parents to ditch some, if not all of the journey to school in the car, in favour of walking with their the children to school.
The company’s founder and father of two Kevin Auton believes that getting into the habit of walking just a few more steps a day could become the start of a dramatic change in lifestyle, which could have huge benefits for both children and parents alike for the rest of their lives.
One such parent, Amber Walker, 21, from Huntingdon, is just like many busy mums, she had so much to do but so little time! Amber noticed her weight start to creep up after the birth of her son and a hectic lifestyle took over. Over the years, she had tried dieting, going to the gym and watching what she ate, but like many, found it impossible to maintain her weight.
Last year, Amber saw an article in her local paper about a funded initiative to help residents to get fitter and lose weight. The scheme provided funding for Amber to purchase a step counter from Activ8rlives for a nominal amount and to join a group of young people also keen to get fitter.
The aim of the group was to help the individual members achieve a target of 10,000 steps per day, which equates to about an hour’s moderate activity but the differentiating factor was the working together as a group. Amber started walking to school with her son. She devised longer routes for frequent journeys to the supermarket and even to her parents’ house, which is only a short walk away. As she reached her target of 10,000 steps a day, she started to notice a real difference.
“I felt much better within myself and found I really enjoyed the walks out. I also noticed that I was losing weight too. For the first time, I’d found a solution where the weight loss was actually just a nice added benefit, rather than the sole focus.”
Intrigued by the change in Amber, her son, partner, parents and even siblings and their partners have joined in with the Activ8rlives programme and jointly, support each other in reaching their daily 10,000 steps target but as a family group.
“I can’t believe how something as simple as walking has made such a difference in my family life. I now go out for walks with my dad in the evening if he is running under his daily target of steps. We get to spend time together that we never would if it wasn’t for our shared desire to reach 10,000 steps a day. As for my son Zac, the change has been incredible. He no longer complains about walking to school, he sleeps much better at night and has grown into his weight,” says Amber.
Activ8rlives currently has over 13,000 registered users, who use the “social media meets self monitoring” free website to join with friends, family and other steppers in the Activ8rlives community, bringing a whole new dimension to the concept of getting in shape with peer support.
Kevin Auton, founder of Activ8rlives explains,
“There are many health-based initiatives that recognise the importance of peer support, like the weekly slimming club weigh-in for example. It is the positive aspects of group support that we have emulated in our approach, with impressive results. What we believe makes our approach truly life changing is it’s ability to help people of all ages and circumstances to self monitor their lifestyles. With support of their families, friends, peers or work colleagues, individuals can give and receive encouragement and motivation to help them stick to their activity aims. What we have found is that when people work together in groups but also self monitor their activity that they actually take on board the lessons at a much deeper level and more importantly, they stick with it.”
Kevin continued “Activ8rlives was formed in response to our own needs as a family. Like so many others, we are a busy working family. No time to exercise, too busy to eat the right food and storing up health problems for our futures. The key challenge for us as a family was finding time to be active. So we had to reinvent our schedule as a family. My youngest daughter goes to a school too far away to walk. So we drive within 1 mile and walk the rest. This is what we call our “Park and stride.” This one simple change to our routine has made a big difference for us and for our daughter (who really is the inspiration behind what we have developed). This simple action gives us a budget of 5,000 steps – about 40% of what we need each day to stay healthy.
In support the Walk to School initiative and to encourage you to make walking an activity for a lifetime, Activ8rlives.com has made available the Buddy activity monitor at a 20% discounted rate for the month of May.To take advantage of this offer visit the online store at http://www.Activ8rlives.com
Posted by Tracy Thomas