In 2016 Public Health England released 'Working together to promote active travel', a briefing to local authoritites that aims to encourage more daily physical activity.
October is National Walk To School Month and this offers the perfect opportunity for parents and children to leave those car keys at home and slip on a pair of trainers for an active journey to school.
Alarmingly 1 in 5 cars on the road in the morning rush hour are on the school run. This is not only having a detrimental effect on the environment but it’s also no wonder physical activity levels amongst 5-15 year olds are dropping dramatically. Health and Social Care reported that the proportion of boys who met the weekly physical activity guidelines fell from 28% in 2008 to 21% in 2012, whilst girls fell from 19% in 2008 to 16% in 2012 and this year they’re expected to fall again.
Research shows that an active start to the day can boost concentration levels and raise attainment, therefore instilling this mentality in every child from an early age can be vitally important to their long term future. Start as you mean to go on!
Children who are physically active on their way to school will burn off some of their excess energy, and are far more likely to settle down and focus better during lesson time. Furthermore, if they are old enough to walk to school without supervision, it’s a great way to enjoy some independence or socialise with friends who walk the same journey.
Our CEO and founder Dean Horridge who has spent over 28 years encouraging people to take part in more daily physical activity is a big fan of the initiative, "Walk To School Week will no doubt raise awareness to the importance of making active trips to school every day but we must make sure that this isn’t just a one-off and it is instead something that we should be introducing into all of our daily routines.”
As children travel to school five days a week, why not ensure that they are getting the very most from their journey. Walking or even cycling gets the blood pumping, the muscles moving and reduces the risk of health issues in later life. The national guidelines state that every child should be participating in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day and depending on the distance to your school, an active journey to the classroom can go a long way to ensuring that children are achieving that.
However, walking to school is not only beneficial for short and long term physical health but it also makes certain that there are no excuses for lateness and, even more importantly, it’s more cost effective because it’s free!
So ditch the transport and enjoy a stroll to work with the kids this week, try it, you never know, you might even like it!