Families are being urged to ‘stride don’t drive’ and leave the car at home for short journeys and school runs, boosting children’s fitness and independence, making roads safer, improving air quality and saving money.
May is National Walking Month and next week (15 to 19 May) is Walk To School week – the ideal time to save the gas and walk to class.
Walking all, or part of the way, to school has major benefits for families and the community as a whole.
Walking can improve wellbeing and fitness, help children maintain a healthy weight and boost their academic performance.
It also increases youngsters’ sense of independence and it is more fun walking with friends than travelling in a car.
It also creates a safer environment around schools, with less vehicles on the road, less inconsiderate parking and fewer stressed drivers.
The environment also benefits from lower emissions – plus parents save on petrol costs.
Some children at Althorpe and Keadby already enjoy catching a ‘walking bus’ to and from school every day.
Head-teacher Sarah Tate said: “The walking bus has ensured that 12 children are able to get to school on time each morning. They enjoy walking with their friends and know that it is a healthy way to start the day.
“Parents are grateful as it enables them to get to work on time and with a much pleasanter start to the day.”
There are many ways families can introduce walking into their routine:
• Walk on Wednesday – pick just one day a walk when you leave earlier and walk, and increase this to more as you get used to it.
• Park and stride – walk part of the way. This could be quicker than driving if you don’t have to wait for a parking place and can use pedestrian paths to reach school.
• Be a bus – Talk to your school or other parents about setting up a ‘walking bus’ – a chaperoned walk along a set route.
• Talk ‘n’ walk – use the walk as quality time with your child to talk and enjoy each other’s company.
• First steps – If your child is due to move to Year 7 you can help build confidence and independence by introducing a graduated walk as part of a routine with friends.
• Teamwork – take it in turns with other parents to walk with your children
• Step it up – Walking is good for parents too! A short walk improves health and fitness for everyone and increases your daily step count.
• The Daily Mile – get #FitForLife life by incorporating 15 minutes of exercise into your day. More info and top tips is on the Health Programmes section of our website.
For more ideas and advice go to the Living Streets website, which encourages active travel and is the charity behind Walk To School Week.