Let’s Swap the School Run for a School Walk

May is National Walking Month and to get schools moving, Walk to School week is 20th  – 24th May this year.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you get completely bugged by traffic on the roads during school drop off and pickups? Well, with Walk to School in action, now is the time to get those troublesome kids out of the car and on foot. Not only will this help with adding exercise to their day, but it’s great for the environment too.

Benefits of walking to school:

  • Children feel energised and empowered from walking. 
  • Studies show that being active is as great for mental wellbeing as it is for physical wellness. 
  • It’s a great time to connect with your child as you can focus on them and the conversation.
  • It’s not just fitness and wellbeing that is helped, the environment benefits from the reduced fumes.
  • There’s less congestion at the school gates, leading to less accidents.

Get up and walk

The UK Charity for everyday walking, Living Streets, are celebrating 90 years of being a beacon for walking. Starting out as The Pedestrian Association, their campaigning over the years has brought about successes such as the introduction of the Zebra Crossing, blood alcohol testing for drivers and 30mph speed limits in built-up areas.  

Now they have a huge ambition: Every child that can, walks to school!
Their research tells us that a generation ago, 70% of us walked to school and now it’s less than half.
Their mission is to reverse the decline and to get everyone out of the car and walking, whether they are aged 9 or 90 and Walk to School week is the perfect opportunity to start.
They have some top tips on their website and this year, they are promoting 3 fantastic opportunities for Primary Schools to get you up and about. 

1) The 5-day walking challenge:  
This challenge is designed to offer pupils a burst of walking activities.

2) The month-long walking challenge:
Designed to highlight the benefits of regular activity.

3) Happy Shoesday
A great idea where you get to wear shoes that make you happy and help to create a safer, walkable street for all.

Secondary Schools don’t miss out either as Living Street have launched a new campaign aimed at students transitioning from Year 6 to Year 7. Next Steps to Secondary School encourages students and families to consider the new journey to their new school.  It touches on both mental and physical benefits of walking to school while also raising important questions about road safety and independence.

‘But surely we should get them walking early on when their young’  I hear you cry.

This is very true, and with this in mind, Little Feet is the Living Street resource for Early Years, supporting families’ with understand the benefits of active journeys through fun and engaging games that both parents/carers and teachers can get involved with. You can buy your activity pack for Little Feet here.

Excuse the excuse

We are all guilty of jumping in the car because it’s quicker and easier and for lots of families, walking to school isn’t always the easy option.  Here’s a few solutions to frequent problems:

  • Pushed for time? If you find you just don’t have the time to walk, see if you can commit to one day a week.  Once you’ve got this under your belt, you may find you enjoy it and start to work your week around it.
  • Walk one way to start off. If you need to get to work and it’s just easier to drop off on route, then see if you can arrange to walk back home.
  • Breakfast club, after school club, child minders? See if you can find a provider that includes walking in their pick up routine.
  • Walking buddies. Find a friend to make the walk more fun.  It also means that you can often take turns with other families to do the pick-up.

Head on over to the Living Streets website for a bucket load of information for parents, careers and schools to all get involved.  They’ve got information packs, banners and badges that can get you started as well as top tips, ideas and activities to get you on the move.

So, if you can, WALK.  

Need a bit more motivation for squeezing in exercise around your busy working life?  Check out our Blog Get Fit at Work – Exercises for the Workplace for tips to keep moving.

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