Want to reduce carbon emissions, traffic congestion, and the risk of childhood obesity? Then step right up and out for Walk to School Week (16 to 20 May).
Next week’s event, organised by the charity Living Streets, encourages children and their carers to leave the car at home and do the school run on foot instead.
So, why all this emphasis on swapping four wheels for two feet? Here are just a few benefits associated with walking to school.
- It’s a great way to boost children’s activity levels (bear in mind that only 45% of children and young people exercise for the recommended one hour a day*).
- Starting the day with a dose of fresh air gets the endorphins (feel-good emotions) going and increases alertness.
- It’s an excellent opportunity to have a little one-on-one time with your child and natter about whatever is on their mind.
- According to Unicef, in 71% of UK towns and cities, children breathe in unsafe levels of air pollution (which is linked to an increased risk of asthma and respiratory problems). Reducing cars on local streets will mean cleaner air.
- The roads around schools are often chock-a-block at peak times, with some parents also failing to adhere to road rules and parking irresponsibly. Fewer cars mean less stress and less dodgy driver aggression.
- A Living Streets study found that 87% of parents with primary school-aged children have had to step into the carriageway because of vehicles parked on the pavement while on the school run. This poses serious safety and accessibility issues.
Why not try walking your child to school every day next week and see if you notice the benefits?
If it’s not feasible to walk the whole way due to distance, consider parking about ten minutes away from school and completing the rest of your journey on foot.
And don’t forget to take note of the street conditions on your route to school and contact your local council if improvements are needed to remedy unsafe crossings or damaged pavements.
From all of us here at Martin & Co, thanks for reading and happy walking.
* Figures compiled in 2019/2020 by Sport England.