We walked to school today. To some of you that may not sound like a big deal. Walking or biking to school may be a part of your daily routine. But for us it’s not a regular occurrence. Today was walk or bike to school day in our community, a day where the big yellow bus didn’t take our kids to school.
Way back when someone had the not-so-brilliant idea to create little pockets of housing around town without sidewalks. We happen to live in an area where there are sidewalks, but once you reach the tip of the neighborhood you’re dumped onto a main thoroughfare without sidewalks and without a safe way to school. Big bummer.
So today we joined together with a few neighbors and met up with kids from all over to walk and bike to school together.
My oldest decided to bike to school. I walked to school with my younger two.
Why walk or bike to school?
- It’s fun. And that it was. I had a chance to walk and talk with my kids and others for a mile walk. Usually we’re rushing around trying to get out in the morning so this was a great way to start the day.
- We used our feet instead of a car or bus. When families decide to lace up their sneakers or strap on their bike helmets to get to school instead of riding in a car or bus, they help reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted.
- In 2009, 203,000 children ages 15 and younger were injured in motor vehicles crashes; 15,000 of those injured were pedestrians (NHTSA, 2011). Teaching children how to look both ways and walk or bike with caution was a big component of the walk. We had our own police escort with flashing lights. Very fancy.
We clearly weren’t the only ones who decided to walk or bike to school today.
Why we should ride or walk to school more often
A Danish study this past year looked at nearly 20,000 Danish kids between the ages of 5 and 19. It found that kids who cycled or walked to school, rather than traveling by car or public transportation, performed measurably better on tasks demanding concentration, such as solving puzzles, and that the effects lasted for up to four hours after they got to school.
And then there’s the benefit of physical fitness. Being active before sitting in a classroom all day is priceless. Learning to incorporate fitness into your daily routine is a precious life skill.
We are active as a family, but I’m determined to make walking or biking to school happen more often. Logistically it’s not that easy, but it’s doable and it’s a necessity.
Do you or your kids walk or bike every day?