The benefits of walking or riding regularly to school are well established.
If you want to benefit, but find the walk or ride a challenge, check our Tips for Active Travel for some help!
Social, emotional and learning benefits
- Walking or riding improves the mood of young children and can help control anxiety and depression.
- Children arrive at school more alert and show better ability to concentrate for up to 4 hours after the walk!
- Improvements in kids' academic performance have even been shown
- Independently negotiating the walk or ride to school increases kids’ sense of independence and develops their responsibility, decision making, and time and risk management skills – all of which enhance their future job prospects
- Children who travel actively to school, especially with their peers, have wide social networks and are more engaged with their community than those who travel by car
- Avoid the stress of traffic jams or trying to find a car park!
Better health and fitness
- Those who develop regular patterns of activity early in life are more likely to remain active throughout life and carry the long term health benefits with them
- Physical activity can promote healthy growth and development while maintaining a healthy weight.
- Bone strength and muscle strength, endurance and flexibility are improved in children and adolescents
- Moderate to vigorous physical activity such as riding increases endurance fitness which benefits cardiovascular health.
- Children who walk to primary school develop road safety awareness and are less vulnerable when they travel independently to secondary school
- Having more children walking means fewer cars around schools, making the roads and carparks safer
- When there are more pedestrians and cyclists about, motorists slow down and there are fewer accidents
- Walking creates a hive of activity around schools which reduces the risk of stranger danger.
- Fewer cars going to schools means lower green house gas emissions and less particulate matter and other toxic emissions in the air we breathe.
- Save money on petrol, bus fare etc
- The journey times can actually be shorter than if you drive, especially at times of peak traffic. As parents, it may feel like choosing to ride or walk to school with your kids will make you late for work. Try timing it. Once you drop the kids off you will probably ride or walk home faster and you may find that if you then need to jump in the car to get to work that leaving that 5-10mins later actually reduces your travel time as there is less traffic on the road. Plus you arrive at work with all the health and learning benefits of having had some physical activity.