When I was in elementary school we walked to school. There was really no other option except for an occasional ride from a parent. Not only did we walk, but we walked by ourselves (my sister was usually far in front of me, making sure no one saw us together). No adult supervision-just us kids, traffic, and LOTS of strangers. And we survived.
As much as I would like them to, it’s not logistically possible for my own children to walk to school. We live too far and there aren’t sidewalks on a few segments of the route. As a result, their “morning walk” consists of taking 15 steps to the bus stop and waiting for that big yellow bus to pull up so they can sit down and ride to school.
Just because walking might not be as convenient as it was when I was in school doesn’t mean walking is any less important. It’s probably more important now given the increase in childhood obesity rates- approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and teens aged 2—19 years are obese.
As a way to promote and encourage communities to create walkable and bikable environments, Healthy Child Healthy World and Every Body Walk have partnered together to promote National Walk to School Day on October 5th.
On October 5th, kids and families from around the globe will be putting on their sneakers and walking or biking to school.
Why walk or bike?
- Promotes physical activity.
- It’s free.
- It’s easy.
- It’s healthy and green.
- Helps prevent obesity.
- Improves air quality – less cars on the road emitting toxic chemicals into the environment.
- Promotes awareness within a community for safe routes for biking and walking.
What if it’s too far or logistically impossible to walk?
In our community the sidewalks are sporadic. There aren’t enough to get us from our home to school safely. So rather than walking the entire distance to the school we have a designated meeting area within walking distance of the school that allows families to park and walk together.
How to organize a walk or bike to school
Check with Walktoschool.org to see if an event has already been planned in your area. Register your own event with Walktoschool.org. Go to the site for ideas, suggestions and other information on how to make your event a success.
Need a little more encouragement?
Check out these students doing the Ped Safety Dance-
Hopefully your walking and biking to school won’t start and end on October 5th. Try to incorporate it into your weekly or monthly schedule.
Are you ready to walk or bike on October 5th? Do you regularly walk or bike to school or work? Does your community celebrate National Walk to School Day?
[Photo used under Creative Commons from D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]