Our family just received a great email from Brian Litmans of the Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage, a fabulous group dedicated to getting folks out on the 200+ miles of paved trail systems. The BCA likes to encourage anyone to commute via bicycle, maintaining that a healthier lifestyle and environment is just a chain crank away. This includes the kids.
Wednesday, October 7th is National Walk Our Children to School Day. Started in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America (originally an idea founded in the UK), the event has grown into a movement in all 50 states. By 2002, according to the information sent by Litmans, 3 million kids were walking or biking to school on this special day, and hopefully gaining a love of fitness for a lifetime.
Need a few motivating factors? How about the fact that in 1960 67% of kids walked to school; today the national average is 13%. In the 1960’s only 7% of kids were overweight or obese; in Anchorage that number has grown to almost 36%. Yikes. AK Dad asked me if I ever walked to school. Thinking back, I think AK Grandma made us from the first grade. Granted, we lived in a little Washington town and had a passel of other kids to walk with, but yes, I certainly did. Even in the rain or snow, uphill both ways, barefoot. Oh, wait, that’s another story…
Yes, AK Fam is well aware the potential risks in allowing children to walk to school. But we are also aware of the risks if we don’t.
Take some time this week and accompany your kiddos to school, regardless their age (or yours). Grab a latte at Starbucks (nonfat, of course) if you need to, but saddle up, put on the raingear, leash up the dog; whatever you gotta do to help promote a healthy lifestyle and safer communities. Safe communities are created by parents like you.
For more interesting factoids on kids and nature and the trend of staying indoors rather than out, visit Richard Louv’s web site. Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods”, states pretty clearly the external and internal reasons for the decline of kids in nature. Check it out.