Launched in 1995, Walk to School Week is a national campaign with a simple aim – to encourage all parents and children to make walking to school part of their daily routine. There are now over 6,400 schools and 1.6 million children taking part. The campaign is run by Living Streets, the national charity which stands up for pedestrians
Walk to School Week is part of The Great British Walking Challenge, with Living Streets encouraging people across Britain to see how many times we can collectively walk between Land’s End and John O’Groats. Throughout May, unite with others and log your walking, whether it’s to or from school, on the commute to work or taking the dog for a walk. Living Streets say: “Walking is one of the easiest ways to increase your fitness and improve your health. To count as moderate exercise you should walk at about four miles an hour, which is about the pace you’d walk if late for an appointment. Do this five times a week and you’ll soon feel the difference.”
Living Streets anticipate that this year’s Walk to School Week will be their biggest yet, with schools up and down the country taking part. With lots of online resources and advice on how to get involved, there’s no excuse not to join in and reclaim the streets! If you join in this month, the whole family will feel the benefits – more quality time together, improved fitness and an enhanced connection with and enjoyment of the world around you.
To further inspire children who might be reluctant, Living Streets is delighted to announce their brand new Walk to School Week competition, for primary school children, sponsored by Start-rite Shoes. The challenge is for a class to collectively design their own ‘Walk to School’ banner. The winning class will be chosen on Monday 11th June and everyone in that class will win a pair of Start-rite shoes. A professional Start-rite fitter will visit your child’s school to correctly measure the children’s feet and educate them on the importance of well fitting shoes. And to top it all off, their lovable Strider mascot will join the kids for the day too!
According to walking charity, Ramblers, these are just some of the manifold benefits of ‘Shanks Pony’:
• Walking is the most natural, green, inclusive and sustainable form of transport.
• Walking is free.
• Walking doesn’t produce excess carbon dioxide or fumes or cause noise pollution
• Walking is a more efficient use of space: 20 times as many people can move in the same space by walking as in a car
• In taking just one step, you use over 200 muscles
• Walking 1 mile/1.6km in 20 minutes can burn up at least 100kcal/420kJ of energy, as much as swimming for 10 minutes, playing football for 12 minutes or doing aerobics for 16 minutes
• Walking 2 miles/3.2km a day, 4 times a week, can help reduce weight by 0.5kg/1 pound every month
• Walking a mile burns around the same amount of calories as running a mile, although of course it takes longer
• Walking, like running, cycling, swimming and aerobics, is an aerobic exercise which helps your heart and lungs learn to use oxygen more efficiently. Regular brisk walkers will find they’re less often short of breath and are more energetic
Did you know?
• If we all swapped one car journey a week for walking instead, car traffic levels would reduce by at least 10%.
• If every car driver in the UK left their car at home once a month and walked for 20 minutes instead, we could save up to 320,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, the same amount produced by 50,000 homes.
• Car users regularly suffer up to three times as much pollution as pedestrians because they are sitting in traffic in the line of exhaust fumes from the car in front.
• Walking also has indirect environmental benefits. The more we walk, the more we take an interest in our surroundings. The more people use parks, green spaces, attractive urban public spaces and the countryside, the more likely it is that money will be spent to preserve, maintain and improve them.