International Walk to School Day Promotes Health Environment, Safety, and Fun.
On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, school children from across Southeast Michigan will participate in International Walk to School Day.
International Walk to School Day
Lace up your sneakers kids, parents, and teachers–October 7th is International Walk to School Day! On this day communities from more than 40 countries participate in walking and biking to school. What started as a one-day event in late 1990s has evolved into a super-movement, and people all around the country including Southeast Michigan are celebrating year-round safe routes to school. Here are some reasons you should join in on the fun this year, and encourage the people around you to do the same!
Walking to School Promotes Healthy Habits
Many people are not getting the daily exercise that they need. According to the American Heart Association walking as little as 30 minutes a day improves heart health and walking briskly can help lower the risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. It also helps promote strong bones, muscles and joints, and decreases the risks of obesity. But daily physical activity doesn’t only benefit a child’s physical health, it also supports their growing minds. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “…physical activity can have an impact on cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior, all of which are important components of improved academic performance. These include enhanced concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behavior.”
Walking to School is Green
Automobiles emit pollutants into the air that result in an increase in ground-level ozone, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter such as particles of dust, soot, smoke, dirt and liquid droplets. All of these things are horrible for the environment and our health! According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), people exposed to toxic air pollutants at sufficient concentrations and durations may have an increased chance of getting cancer or experiencing other serious health effects such as damage to the immune system, as well as neurological, reproductive (reduced fertility), developmental, respiratory, and other health problems. Imagine the huge difference you could make in your community’s health and air quality by participating in International Walk to School Day every day!
Walking to School Promotes Safety
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009 203,000 children ages 15 and younger were injured in motor vehicles crashes; 15,000 of those injured were pedestrian. International Walk to School Day promotes the importance of educating children and adults on safe walking and biking skills. It also teaches drivers the importance of sharing the road, and carefully watching for walkers and bike riders. By participating in International Walk to School Day you can be a part of this movement and help make a real difference in the safety of your community!
Walking to School is FUN!
If health and safety aren’t reason enough to walk or bike to school, then the fun aspect should easily convince you otherwise. When kids and parents walk to school they get the chance to appreciate things that they usually miss out on when they drive in a vehicle. Simple things like the fresh aroma of the outdoors, the sounds of nature, and running into friends in the neighborhood. This precious time is a chance to bond and feel more connected to your child and community!
Please help make International Walk to School Day a year-round initiative! If you would like to learn more, plan an event, or see who else is involved you can visit http://walkbiketoschool.org/.
Michigan Urgent Care and Occupational Health clinics are open 365 days a year, and have 10 locations throughout Southeast Michigan. Find a clinic near you by visiting http://www.michiganurgentcare.com.