Why walk to school? There are many benefits of walking to school for your child’s mental health, fitness levels and general wellbeing, from teaching them independence to encouraging them to get outdoors. Here is a list of the most essential benefits:
Most of us are very aware that childhood obesity is rising fast – in 2008, 31% of children between the ages of 2 and 15 were overweight or obese. Children need at least an hour of physical activity per day, and walking to school is a great way to get some of that exercise. Incorporating physical activity into a child’s daily routine is also a good way of tackling childhood obesity and teaching children healthy habits that they can continue throughout their lives.
Childhood (and especially early puberty) is also a crucial period for establishing future bone-density. By doing weight-bearing exercise, including walking running and skipping, children can increase their bone health.
Most teachers will tell you that children who walk or cycle to school are more alert and ready to learn than those who travel by car. Evidence shows that children who are physically active on the way to school burn off some of their excess energy, and are more able to settle down and focus well in lessons.
Walking also reduces stress and increases creativity, both of which will help a child’s performance at school.
School can be a difficult time for many young people, having to deal with stressful experiences such as peer-pressure, bullying, poor self-image and exams. This can lead to depression, but studies have shown that physical activity can be used to overcome, and even prevent, depression and anxiety.
Good habits learned young are learned well.
Teaching your child to walk safely to school will stand them in good stead for the rest of their life.
It’s an opportunity for them to be independent, think responsibly, and make decisions for themselves.
If your child joins a walking bus, or is old enough to walk to school with friends, they will have extra time in the day to build friendships, and feel comfortable around other people.
Most teenagers, like all of us, need time to themselves – walking home can be a great time to think, relax, and mull over their day.
There are also concerns about the level of pollution that children are exposed to sitting inside cars in congested or slow moving traffic.
When planning your walking journey to school, it may well be possible to find a route which is quiet or traffic-free, and walking through green spaces such as parks can make you feel calmer and happier.
Walking also enables reflection of how
we feel about the environment in which we live, so children will learn to love
their town even more if they get to know it on foot.
To find out more click here.
To find out more about the health benefits click here.
If you have
further questions, we recommend speaking to a healthcare professional.
Use Whitecoat.com.au to easily find an appropriate healthcare provider near you.
19 May 2016