Walking to school is a healthy and enjoyable way for children to start their day. However, in recent years, fewer children are walking to school due to various factors such as the distance between home and school, working hours, safety concerns, and the convenience of car transportation. If you are able to put on your coats and wellies and stride your way to school, then there are a number of benefits your child can expect to experience.
1. Physical Health
Walking to school is an excellent form of exercise that promotes physical health. According to the NHS children and adolescents should engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. Walking to school can help children meet this recommendation and improve their overall health by reducing their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.
2. Mental Health
Walking to school is also beneficial for children's mental health. Studies have shown that physical activity can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and boost self-esteem. Walking to school can also provide children with a sense of independence and autonomy, which can enhance their overall well-being.
3. Environmental Benefits
Walking to school can also have positive environmental impacts. Cars contribute significantly to air pollution, which can have adverse health effects on children. Walking to school reduces the number of cars on the road, which can help improve air quality in your local community. According to Living Streets, 2 in 5 parents are concerned about the air pollution surrounding their local primary schools.
4. Safety Awareness
Walking to school can also help children develop safety awareness skills. Walking to school can help children learn about traffic rules, pedestrian safety, and the importance of paying attention to their surroundings. This knowledge can help children become safer pedestrians, which can reduce their risk of injury while walking or biking.
5. Social Benefits
Walking to school can also provide social benefits for children. Walking with friends or neighbours can help children develop social skills, make new friends, and foster a sense of community. This can also be an opportunity for parents and children to spend quality time together.
In conclusion, walking to school is a healthy, enjoyable, and environmentally friendly way for children to start their day. Encouraging children to walk to school can have positive impacts on their physical and mental health, safety awareness, social skills, and the environment. As parents, guardians, and educators, it is important to prioritise the well-being of our children and encourage healthy habits such as walking to school whenever possible.
Walk to School Week (Mon 15th to Fri 19th May)
In May 2023 it's National Walking Month, and a great time to start your walking to school journey! Set your family a challenge and even collect sponsorship if you'd like to support a charity.