Walk to School Week: 4 Reasons Why You Should Ditch the Car & Get Active!
17 May 2021
Hands up – who walks to school? Hmm, not many. According to Living Streets, a generation ago, 70% of pupils walked to school. Now it’s less than half.
The 17th May is the start of Walk to School Week – an amazing campaign that tries to encourage more parents and children to leave the car on the drive and add more physical activity to their daily routines.
You may well have a few questions about the campaign and why it’s so important. Which is why the B&M team have got together to answer your questions about Walk to School Week, such as:
- Why is it important to walk to school?
- What is air pollution?
- What other healthy means of transport are there?
- What do I need for the walk?
Why is it Important to Walk to School?
Walking has lots of great benefits: both physical and mental. Regular daily walks are a proven way to improve circulation, help you lose weight, improve sleep and lighten your mood.
But walking doesn’t just impact you and the kids. One car left at home is one car fewer on the road. This will reduce air pollution as a result of exhaust fumes, reduce traffic and means fewer cars alighting outside of school, further reducing the risk of road collisions.
What is Air Pollution?
Petrol and diesel fuelled cars release emissions that contaminate the air we breathe. Many harmful pollutants are present in car exhaust fumes, including carbon monoxide (toxic to humans), nitrogen oxide (which can contribute to smog) and airborne particles known as particulates (especially from diesel cars, which contain black soot and metal)
Prolonged exposure to these harmful substances can be very damaging to our long-term health, and even more dangerous in the short-term for those with respiratory illnesses.
What Other Healthy Means of Transport are There?
Walking is perfectly good exercise for the school run, but if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous (or you’re late leaving the house!) you might want to try something more intensive.
Why not run? Get the kids into shorts and t-shirt and pack their school uniform so they can change when they arrive. Or how about cycling? A fun, family activity that’s great for your well-being and the environment too (two wheels are better than four!).
If your school is too far to go by foot or bike, is there a bus route or train station that can get you a bit closer? The walk to the bus stop or train station is still good exercise, and you’ll still be doing your bit for the environment by not using the car (plus lots of bus operators use electric or hybrid buses now!).
B&M Top Tip: if the kids really aren't keen on walking, a scooter is a great compromise! They can ride into the playground in style and still get their pulse racing.
What do I Need for the Walk?
All you really need is motivation (and their homework of course!), but there are a few other things you might want to take with you.
Grab a water bottle and fill it up for the journey, no matter how far you need to go. Hydration is key to a healthy lifestyle and it’s important to have access to water throughout the day.
B&M Top Tip: parents often skip breakfast in order to get the kids dressed and fed before leaving the house. If you’re pressed for time, why not whizz a banana, blueberries, raspberries, apple juice and honey in a blender the night before. Pour into a bottle and voila! Breakfast on the go.
Rather than wear out their school shoes on the walk, kit them out in a new pair of trainers especially for the school run. It’ll help create some excitement and will encourage those not too keen on the idea of walking. B&M have some stylish trainers for boys and girls of both primary and secondary ages!
B&M Top Tip: need something stylish to carry lunch in? You'll find lots of cool lunch bags for boys and girls at your local B&M store!