International Walking to School Week
October is International Walk to School Month, so I’m just going to outline some of the benefits of walking to school.
From the National Childhood Measurement Survey results from 2016/2017, in the UK, we know that almost 1/4 of reception children were overweight and obese, and over 1/3 in year 6.
Healthy living includes lifestyle, diet, sleep, enjoyment and movement. Therefore, trying to increase movement and physical activity is a positive way that we can encourage children to move more and lead healthier lifestyles.
Benefits of walking to school:
1. It increases children’s physical activity levels. A 2005 study shows that those who walk or cycle to school have higher overall levels of physical activity than those who use cars. School age children should we active for minimum 60 minutes daily, so this will contribute to their daily activity.
2. Learning new skills. Road safety skills can be taught or reinforced when walking to school.
3. Saves money. Walking is free to everyone, and will often help you save money on petrol, taxis or bus fares.
4. Fresh air. Getting fresh air in the morning is a great way to start the day. Evidence has also shown that walking to school in the morning expends energy, and are therefore more about to concentrate and focus in lessons.
5. Socialising. Walking to school with other local families/neighbours can be a great way for both children and parents/carers to socalise and build up relationships.
6. Saves time. This may not be an obvious one, however, if you live very locally to your child’s school, but drive in, the traffic can often mean it takes you LONGER in the grand scheme. This includes helping children in and out of the car.
Now, if you live quite a distance from your child’s school and are thinking that walking is just not possible, you can still increase your time being physically active. You can do this in a few ways:
- Park a little further away from the school, and walk the rest. Every few minutes really do count. (This could also cut down on time stuck in traffic).
- If you use public transport, get off the bus or train a stop before yours, and walk the rest of the distance.
- Encourage the use of stairs over lifts or escalators where ever possible.