Get Going For ‘National Walking Month’
by Kathryn Shaw
Put your best foot forward this May for National Walking Month, which includes Walk to School Week on the 21st – 25th May.
Families across Sussex are celebrating the benefits of walking this May as they take to their feet for Walk to School Week (21-25 May 2018).
Walk to School Week is organised by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking and takes place during National Walking Month each May. Last year, over 14,000 classes took part – that’s around 400,000 children walking to school. This year looks set to be bigger than ever, with parents and carers from across Sussex joining families around the UK to pledge to walk their child to school during Walk to School Week.
Experts advise that children are active for at least 60 minutes a day to stay healthy but only one in five 5-15 year olds achieve this. The journey to school provides the perfect opportunity for children to achieve part of the recommended daily amount of physical activity before they’ve even reached the school gates.
When children walk to school, not only do they reap the physical and mental health benefits of being more active and spending quality time with family and friends, but they also help to alleviate parking problems, reduce congestion and improve air quality – creating safer and healthier communities.
Despite the many benefits of walking to school, the number of children doing so is significantly lower than it used to be. A generation ago over 70 per cent of primary school children walked to school, now it’s just over half. Living Streets will be using this year’s Walk to School Week to try and help families give walking a go, with parents and carers who pledge to walk their child to school during Walk to School Week on the Living Streets website being sent ideas of how to make the walk to school safer, easier and more enjoyable.
The Tuesday of Walk to School Week is ‘Happy Shoesday’, with children being encouraged to wear the shoes that make them happiest – whether that is the brightest, jazziest or craziest shoes they own or by downloading the ‘shoe capes’ template from the Living Streets website and creating their own designs to put over their school shoes. Pupils, parents and teachers can use Happy Shoesday to raise money for Living Streets’ walking projects by donating £1 to Living Streets in exchange for wearing their happy shoes.
Join in the celebration of walking by getting involved in Walk to School Week or if you’re not a parent or carer, there are still lots of ways to get involved with National Walking Month. Living Streets’ website is full of handy tips to help you start reaping the benefits of walking more.