October 1, 2014
This week we are going to stray away from parks slightly and talk briefly about schools!
In celebration of the beginning of October, the Wellness Bulletin is honoring International Walk or Bike to School Day taking place on Wednesday, October 8th. Walk to School Day was organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America beginning in 1997. First established as a one-day event focusing on building awareness for the need for walkable communities. The event soon was recognized international in 2000 when the UK, Canada and USA combined their efforts and created the first International Walk to School Day.
What are the benefits of Walk to School Day?
One of the primary benefits is connecting with the surrounding community, as well as your children. The common goal of improving walking and bicycling conditions brings together families, neighbors, schools and community leaders. It is a great way to start to the day with exercise and a common goal with your family members and neighbors.
Another aspect is walking or bicycling to school ultimately promotes regular physical activity that children and adults need each day. The extra exercise in the morning can produce healthier habits and lifestyle choices. According to Walk Bike to School website, regular physical activity helps children build strong bones, muscles and joints and decreases the risk of obesity. The less participation of physical activity can increase the likelihood of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Aside from the health benefits, Walk to School Day also contributes to a cleaner environment. Walking or bicycling reduces air pollutants emitted by vehicles. Automobiles release a variety of harmful pollutants, which increases nitrogen oxide, dust, soot, smoke, dirt and liquid droplets into the atmosphere. These harmful toxins effect the environment and humans negatively.
So how can you get your community involved in Walk to School Day during the month of October?
One idea is to use one of your parks or facilities as a Walk to School Day meeting point. Some families may live too far to walk to school or may want to participate with groups in the community. Establishing a starting point can bring the community together while exposing community members to your park or facility. Contacting your local school system would be a great way to provide the extra support and awareness! Walk or Bike to School Day website provides a Getting Started Guide for your convenience.
If you are participating on Walk to School day or have a program that aligns with the events goals we want to know! Email us your ideas or submit them on the wellness site here: (firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)
Note that Walk to School Day falls on the Wednesday of the first full week of October, but the full month of October is considered International Walk to School Month. You can pick any day of October to promote this event. Please share your ideas if you are able to institute this event in your community. Stay active and promote wellness in your community!
Graduate Assistant, NC Recreation & Park Association
883 Washington St, Raleigh, NC 27605