Next Wednesday, October 4th is Walk to School Day! Walk to School Day is a great opportunity to partner with your local school system to encourage the use of nearby park and recreation land as safe routes to get to school. This wellness blog will detail Walk to School Day and give your department some tips on how to get involved.
According to the Walk to School Day website, “International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate every October.”
Walk to School Day was created by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, who believes “in the importance and joy of safe walking and biking. We provide ways for communities to get started and offer the best information available to make the future they envision a reality.”
Walking, in general, has tons of health benefits. First, it can help children build stronger bones, increase stamina, and decrease the risk for obesity. Walking to school can encourage your community to incorporate regular physical activity into their daily routines. As we know, physical inactivity can lead to negative health outcomes like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. If participating in Walk to School day is an enjoyable experience, participants may want to make it a regular thing!
According to the Walk to School Day website, encouraging walking to school has a lot of other benefits including:
Safer streets - Communities with higher rates of walking and bicycling tend to have lower crash rates for all travel modes.
Cleaner Environment - When families decide to lace up their sneakers or strap on their bike helmets to get to school instead of riding in a car, they help reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles.
Promoting Safety - Priority must be placed on making it possible for everyone to walk safely, especially in neighborhoods and school zones.
To view a full list of benefits, please visit this page!
How can your department get involved with Walk to School Day? See if your local schools are registered for Walk to School Day at this website. This may be the opportunity for a great partnership! For example, if your department has any trail or greenway system that leads to near a school, these could be great routes to encourage the use of. Additionally, your before and after school programming may be a great place to start.
If you are participating in Walk to School Day, I’d love to know about it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share. Have a great week!
Until next time,