This October 5th is National Walk to School Day!
The event began in 1997 to raise awareness of the need for more walkable communities. Since, it has also made a huge difference in many communities across the country in making their towns and cities more walkable through the creation of long-term walking and bicycling programs, the installation of new sidewalks and pathways, and opening up a discussion about and brainstorming ways to eradicate unsafe driving behaviors that effect us all.
There are endless benefits to living an active lifestyle: exercising reduces the risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety and more. The American Heart Association recommends that children participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity every day, which is a far cry from what most school-aged children actually do these days.
It can be difficult to get into a regular exercise routine, but with some creativity, getting enough physical activity can be easy without much deviation from your current lifestyle. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends:
- Walk whenever possible, like parking farther away from your destination in the parking lot or pacing along the field during children’s soccer games.
- Move more around the house, such as doing yard work, washing the car, or even doing sit-ups during commercial breaks when watching TV.
- Go on walks as a family or with friends rather than watching TV after dinner.
- Reduce screen time, including TVs, computers, video games, and cell phones.
I live a five minute walk from my school and the hospital (it would actually probably take longer for me to drive and park in our crazy parking garage), so everyday is Walk to School Day for me! But for those of you who usually default to driving, consider walking to school or work on October 5th with so many others around the world!