Why kids should be walking and bicycling to school in preparation for Walk & Roll to School Week.
With the support of Safe Routes to School Programs, we work to get more students walking and biking to school through educational events.
Walk & Roll to School Week is a weeklong effort that teaches children how to safely enjoy the health benefits of walking and biking. An example of activities during the week include “Walking School Buses” where students and families meet at a park and walk to school as a group. In honor of upcoming Walk & Roll to School Week, October 16-21, here are three reasons to get kids to school by bike or foot.
1. HEALTH BENEFITS
We all know the importance of physical activity and the related health benefits, but that doesn’t mean we always make time for it. Walking and biking are leisurely activities that are still beneficial in short increments. Introducing children to the benefits of exercise as a means of transportation can instill lifelong healthy habits.
Children who walk or bike to school are at more of an advantage than if they arrived by vehicle. Consistent exercise helps to build and maintain bones and muscles while reducing the risk of disease and promoting mental well-being. In an Avena Study Group aimed at assessing the connection between physical activity and cognitive function in children they found, “physical activity improves cerebral blood flow, general circulation, mood, concentration, memory, and classroom behavior.”
2. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Skipping a trip to school in the car benefits more than just individuals. In addition to health benefits, walking and biking have a significant impact on the environment. Less time spent in cars reduces auto emissions and creates cleaner air around schools. For children with asthma, this can make a huge difference.
When more kids walk and bike to school, there is also a dramatic reduction in traffic. With fewer cars trying to get in and out of a school drop-off zone, streets become safer and more manageable.
3. A NEW PERSPECTIVE
A benefit of walking and biking to school not to overlook is the independence it can nurture in a child. Walking gives kids a sense of the neighborhood and a chance to interact with other people. It’s a safe opportunity to make independent decisions.
Another perspective children gain from walking in their neighborhoods is the point of view of being a pedestrian. The more time you spend outside of the car, the more you are aware of others as a driver. Kids who grow up with this empathy are more likely to be considerate drivers.
These are only three reasons kids should be walking and biking to school, but there are plenty more. Together we can help students form life-long habits and make walking and biking a community norm. Walk & Roll to School week is October 16-21 and will cumulate in a family fun ride in City Park on October 22nd. Help spread the word and find more information on our Facebook page.