Why Walking to School is Good for the Whole Community

It’s International Walk to School Day—but exercise and fresh air are great not just for kids


Remember those stories your parents used to tell you about how they walked to school, in the snow, uphill both ways?  Well, despite that last part, they may have been onto something. Walking to school provides a number of benefits, not only for kids, but for the community as a whole. Despite the benefits, trends show more and more parents driving to school, even when it’s within walking distance.

Convenience has become an excuse with our busy schedules, but today is the day we take a break from the carpool and walk to school—it’s International Walk to School Day.

Though today, Oct. 8, is the official day, the event has gotten so big that some celebrations last all month. The event that first started in the U.S. in 1997 has grown to include schools in every state in the U.S. and schools in 40 other countries.

Why is the simple act of walking to school such a big deal?

For kids, guaranteed fresh air and exercise twice a day is a very big deal. The morning walk means kids show up to their first class more alert and focused and the exercise in general is always beneficial—especially in a country fraught with childhood obesity. Kids who are old enough can walk to school alone, that independence helps build self-confidence and good decision making skills. And for those too young to make the trek alone, parents can get some exercise while spending some quality time with their children.

The benefits extend to the community, as well. Fewer cars on the road means less traffic and a cleaner environment. More pedestrians means a more close-knit community and is usually better for the local economy (and house values). And an increase in pedestrians and cyclists make the roads a safer place, too.

See Also: Study: Bike Commuters and Walkers Are Happier than Drivers

There are plenty of reasons to make the switch and start walking to school, the extra time it takes is well worth all of the benefits. If you didn’t start today, you still have all month to celebrate by walking to school.

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