International Walk to School Month


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International Walk to School Month

‘WALKING IS ONE OF THE LEAST EXPENSIVE AND MOST BROADLY ACCESSIBLE FORMS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.’

Walking rates have declined steadily over the last several decades and fewer children are walking to school. Less than half of all primary school children walk to school and more than one third of children in the UK are overweight; in fact, 33.5 per cent of children were found to be overweight or obese by the time they left primary school last year (2014).

The UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe - nearly two-thirds of adults in England are overweight - more than half the population could be obese by 2050. The UK must now focus on promoting healthier eating as well as more physical activity, which could start with more walking. Walking is free and is one of the healthiest forms of exercise, for all ages of people, it lowers the level LDL (bad) cholesterol but increases the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.  

‘Walking, along with a healthy proper eating plan, is a perfect prescription for getting in shape.’

Walking is the easiest exercise - it is just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and is the perfect exercise for weight management because our bodies are built to walk.  Also walking releases endorphins (happy hormones) and it reduces cortisol levels, the hormone that can contribute to weight-gain.

‘Walking burns calories and maintains muscle tone - more muscle mass - burns more calories’

Make walking a habit and walk as part of your journey to work, walk to the shops, use stairs instead of lifts, avoid using a car for short journeys and walk your children to school.

Walking - is taking a step in the right direction - make a walking plan and consider the following:

  • Where will I walk?

  • How often will I walk?

  • How far or for how long should I walk?

 

Benefits of walking include:

  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease

  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels

  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity

  • Enhance mental well being

  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis

  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer

  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes