Walking to school: a step in the right direction
August 30, 2016 | By Catherine Cameron
The last few days of the summer break are upon us, and it won’t be long before the school bells ring. Help your kids kick off a healthy school year by encouraging them to use active transportation to get to and from school – cycling, roller blading, or our favorite (what could be simpler?!) mode of transportation, WALKING!
With only 7% of Canadian kids and teens getting the daily physical activity they need, every step counts. A 15-minute walk to and from school each day adds up to an extra 2.5 hours of physical activity each week and can count towards the hour of heart-pumping activity kids need each and every day.
Our Walk To School Tips:
- Before the school year starts, walk or bike the route to school with your kids so that they get used to it. Be an active role model for your kids!
- Review safety concerns with your kids — such as taking only the route you’ve agreed to, calling if there’s a change in plans, crossing the street safely, avoiding stray dogs, etc.
- Encourage your kids to walk with friends – or perhaps pick up or meet friends along their route.
- Give kids the tools they need to enjoy their active commutes: a sturdy backpack, a water bottle, a pedometer, etc.
- Remind older children that they should not walk and talk or text and that music shouldn’t be so loud that they can’t hear what’s going on around them.
- Sun protection. Make it a year-round consideration for all exposed skin.
- Talk positively. Walking to school isn’t a punishment, it’s an opportunity for healthy exercise, increased self-confidence, independence, fun with friends, and to de-stress at the end of the school day. Help kids see the positive side of powering themselves to school!
- For kids who want to turn their walks to and from school into more challenging workouts, we recommend adding poles. Whip on a backpack, grab some poles, and arrive at school having had a heart-pumping workout – not to mention looking athletic and strong.
Take steps to help your kids (and yourself) make this the most active school year yet!
Catherine CameronA marketing communications professional with over twenty years of experience, Catherine is President at CAMERON Communications in Toronto. Also a fitness instructor of 27 years, Catherine works with some of Canada’s leading health and lifestyle brands (Tennis Canada, ParticipACTION, DeerFields, Heart and Stroke Foundation and more) and has inspired thousands of Canadians to adopt healthier lifestyles. Catherine is also our Lead FITPRO Ambassador and the founder and director of our Walk@Work Program. She lives in Toronto with her family and is an avid runner, cyclist, and fitness enthusiast. Visit her website.
For moderately steep slopes, simply decrease the pressure on the base of the handles or drag your poles behind you. For steep slopes, keep your poles upright and in front and out to the side slightly, so if you do fall you won’t land on your poles. Bend your knees and elbows, and slow down any momentum. For long descents, it may be helpful to lengthen the poles.
–Barb Gormley, Director of Education