Fed up of trailing behind my scooting sons whilst walking to school, I decided to take the plunge and buy an adult scooter. Would I fall off? Would I look silly? Would I find it too tiring? I didn’t know any of the answers to those, but I did know that having a quicker morning journey would help me to leave the car at home and for us all to have some daily physical activity.
Little did I know that I would love my scooter and it would be genuinely fun to ride! The school run is now done in less than half the time it used to take to walk, and in the same time than driving the mile plus finding a place to park. Scooting alongside my children and feeling my cheeks getting flushed is a wonderful way to start the day. Waking up our bodies literally wakes up our brains too, improving memory and cognitive focus and releasing mood-improving endorphins: we're all set for the day ahead.
In addition to being fun and sociable, scooting is also brilliant moderate aerobic activity. This is defined by the NHS as “where you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break into a sweat.” If you scoot 30 minutes per weekday, you’ll achieve your NHS-recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (if you’re an adult between 19-64). According to scooter manufacturer Micro Scooter, a pilot study at the University of Brighton found that a fit person scooting for 30 mins at 4.6mph would have an average heart rate of 115-120bpm and burn about 150 calories.
The low-intensity and low-impact nature of scooting means that it's not as hard on your knees as running, and improves core strength by balancing the scooter - just make sure you switch legs regularly to keep your legs having the same amount of movement. It's fun to ride down a small decline (with your foot on the brake!) and even just a small incline can really increase these physical benefits of scooting.
If you need to travel further than a few miles, scooting is a perfect way to catch public transport as well. With the flick of a lever, you can fold the scooter down to easily carry onto a bus, tube, tram or train.
Some tips I've learned along the way to get the most out of scooting:
- Stick to the pavement, not the road - unlike cycling, this is totally legal.
- If you're scooting past heavy or slow traffic, breathe through your nose and close your mouth to limit the amount of air pollution you're taking in. You may be more aware of air pollution but car drivers get just as much - they just don't breathe it in as heavily.
- Use your brake rather than your feet to stop yourself, to save your footwear.
- On steep inclines and declines, you'll need to walk alongside your scooter.
- If in doubt, hop off your scooter while you cross the road, see a crack in the pavement etc. Best approach pedestrians carefully and sympathetically, let them know where you'll pass them and be courteous at all times.
- Get a scooter with larger wheels and suspension to be more comfortable and protect your knees.
So: if you fancy swanning past traffic jams, getting fit and keeping up with your kids, get a scooter!
If you’re using BetterPoints to get rewards for active journeys, set the app to ‘cycling’ to collect BetterPoints every time you scoot!