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Greater Wellington Regional Council’s summer active travel programme, Active a2b, is back again this year, but with a new class of participants.
For the first time in the programme’s four-year history, non-office workers are signing up to be part of the action.
Claire Pascoe, the Regional Council’s Active a2b Coordinator, says staff from The Warehouse in Paraparaumu, Lower Hutt, Wellington and Lyall Bay, staff from Mitre 10 Mega in Petone and Masterton, and staff from Taylor Preston meat processing factory, NZ Bus and Pertronic Industries are taking part this year. “In the past, only office workers have taken part but we’ve made a concerted effort this year to bring non-office workers on board and it’s great that so many of them are keen.”
Sandy Collett, Taylor Preston’s Occupational Health Nurse, says many staff catch the company buses to work. Buses collect staff from key points in each part of the region. “We want staff to look at how they travel to and from the bus and we’re encouraging them to walk instead of driving or being driven.”
Active a2b is a four-month programme that encourages commuters around the Wellington region to leave the car at home and explore alternative ways of getting to and from work.
“This time of year, with longer and warmer days, is the perfect time to give your commute a boost by walking, running, cycling, skating or scooting all or part of the way,” says Claire Pascoe, the Regional Council’s Active a2b Coordinator.
“The quieter streets in the first few weeks of January provide a great opportunity for people who haven’t been on a bicycle for a few years to try it out. We also offer a bike mentoring service. Your mentor will accompany you on your cycle commute and give you some handy tips on how to be safe.”
Claire Pascoe says an active commute to and from work enables you to get some exercise without having to take a chunk out of your busy working day. “As health specialists have pointed out most Kiwis need to do more exercise. Running, cycling or walking to and from work is a great way of making exercise a natural part of your daily routine rather than something you have to make special time for. And you’ll reap the benefits very quickly: you’ll have more energy, feel more alert and will probably be slimmer.
“One of the fantastic things about Active a2b is that it’s tailored to the individual. Everyone has different goals they want to achieve and you can choose from a range of helpful tools to help you get where you want to be. Tools include an inspiring desktop calendar, a goal magnet, walking gym workshops and cycle workshops.”
Active a2b, now in its fourth year, is open to all workplaces in the Wellington region and the programme partners Compass Health, the Cancer Society and Regional Public Health are on board again this year.
A highlight of the programme is a four week active commuter challenge from mid February to mid March, with some great prizes on offer. More details will be available closer to the time.
About 550 people have signed up for the programme so far this year. You can register now at activea2b.org.nz. When you join you’ll receive a membership card which will give you discounts at a range of stores, a fortnightly e-newsletter and a free Active a2b gift.