Walking to school brings benefits

Walking to school brings benefits

Another school year means (potentially) another year of frustrations as you deal with traffic congestion and parking issues while driving your child to school. This year, have your child "miss the bus" and take an adventure as you walk to school.

If you live within walking distance to your school, there are many benefits to letting your age-appropriate child walk to school. Better yet – if you can, join them for the journey to school. Here are the benefits and tips on walking to school:

  • It takes the same amount of time. You always arrive at the same time; there are no traffic delays when you walk.
  • It’s healthy. Walking to school keeps you fit and healthy, and wakes you up for a day of learning. Walking to and from school can help your child get some needed exercise. As outlined in the Canadian Physical Guidelines, children aged 5 – 11 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day.
  • Improves school performance. There is a link between academic performance and physical activity. Children who are physically active are more likely to do better at school. Children who walk to school arrive alert and ready to learn.
  • It’s free. Walking costs nothing and you can explore your local area. Walking to school can also mean significant reduction in cost for fuel and car maintenance. Leaving the car at home will help save the environment by cutting down on car emissions and reduce levels of air pollution.
  • Walk’n’ talk. Walk with your friends and family, and get talking on the way to and from school. It is a great time to take the opportunity to talk to your child. If your child is old enough to walk to school with friends, walking will give them extra time to build friendships, or if they are walking alone, it can be a great time to think, relax and reflect on the day.
  • Safety. If you are worried about safety, rally together with neighbours and organize a walk-to-school program that has a responsible older child or adult leading the group.

If you require health advice, please contact HealthLink Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

Carolyn Evancio; Alberta Health Services, Health Promotion Facilitator

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