This week kids all over the globe kicked-off a very cool, and often forgotten, opportunity… Walking To School! FITfamily along with their neighborhood joined the kid parade on Oct, 9th for International Walk-to-School Day and have high hopes to keep it up year-round (except maybe on these very rainy days!!).
FITfamily is lucky to live less than a half a mile from school, so the school district has designated us “walkers,” as opposed to “busers.” Sure, sometimes we “walker mamas” envy our “buser” peers for being able to deposit/collect their kids to/from a bus each day, allowing them to avoid the walk time (and the “stand-and-wave” time), thus extending their time-without-kids by 30+ minutes a day. But in truth, I wouldn’t trade my walk time for the world. When we’re not having quality family heart-to-hearts on our walks, we’re catching up with our neighbors or taking time to notice the changing leaves, the new Halloween decorations on the corner, the growing piles of leaves to jump in. We miss out on these adventures on the days we’re running late and give into the temptation to hop in the car.
Yeah, it really makes a difference when we use our feet instead of our mini vans! We reduce air pollutants, which reduces ozone and nitrogen oxides.
The Walk-to-School organization lists a number of community benefits of walking to school, including:
- Less traffic congestion
- Stronger sense of community
- Safer streets (motorists drive more carefully when they know kids are walking to school)
- Lower costs (one school district calculated $237,000 in annual savings on gas, road maintenance and busing!)
- Improved accessibility (sidewalks and ramps benefit all residents)
- Economic gains (pedestrian investments increase home values and enhance local businesses)
Obviously, the most important benefit to walking to school is the regular exercise that’s automatically incorporated into our families’ daily lives. It’s good for us moms, and it’s great for our kids to learn this important value and see us “walking the walk, not just talking the talk.”
The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends kids get one or more hour of physical activity each day to build strong bones, muscles and joints and decrease the risks of obesity. By walking to and from school each day, this FITfamily is meeting half of that requirement before we even hit the playground or the soccer field!
Missed the chance to walk to school this week? Don’t worry! “Walk-to-School Month” lasts the whole month of October. And of course, walking is free and open year-round!