Boost Your Child’s Education: Walk or Bike to School

Guest post by Anne Taylor Hartzell, Hip Travel Mama blogger

Families bikingEveryone knows the benefits of exercise–but did you know that your child’s exercise regimen actually impacts how well they perform in class? In a recent study by Professor Niels Egelund of Aarhus University in Denmark, it was discovered that children who walk or bike to school concentrate far better and longer than their carpooling counterparts.

The study of 19,527 school children ages 5-19 found that there is a strong connection between diet and exercise and a child’s ability to concentrate. It also showed that children who exercise more than two hours a week outside of school have an advantage over other students during the school day.

That advantage has garnered the attention of parents all over the United States, and in response, several different programs are now being implemented in communities across the nation, hoping to inspire young children to ditch the daily car commute to the classroom.

One program, Safe Routes to School, contributes to this cause nationally. They help communities build safe routes to schools so that parents and their children can feel comfortable heading to school on bikes or on foot. Safe Routes also provides school and community groups with funding for training, awareness, and strategies to encourage children to walk and bike to school.

Inspired to get your kid on the road to better health and a better education? Here are a few tips to get moving:

  • Find Your Walk Score: First, do a search to get your Walk Score and map out your neighborhood’s walk/bike to school routes.
  • Form a Community Walk Group: Safe Routes suggests forming a community group with families in your neighborhood and working together to begin the process of making transportation without a car a great option.
  • Engage Your School: Speak with your child’s school about the possibility of joining a program like Safe Routes to make sure that all aspects of your child’s life support trying a new commute—and reaping the rewards.
  • Join International Walk to School Month in October and commit to walk/bike with your child to school throughout the month.

What are ways you are making walking or biking to school a priority? Let us know in the comments.

Photo: Wisconsin Bike Fed

2 Comments

  1. Great post about a topic that is too often overlooked. Here in Massachusetts, WalkBoston is proud to have launched the first Safe Routes to School program in the state over ten years ago. Right now we’re excited to be working in the City of Revere where people have come together to make walking to school a priority for elementary and middle school students. The following link is to a microdocumentary that showcases the collaboration taking place between the City, the school department, teachers, parents and others. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-5llP6K4_A

  2. Thanks for what you do in Boston and for the video.

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