October 9, 2013 was International Walk to School Day
International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for back to school safety tips and year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate every October. National Walk to School Day 2013 is scheduled for October 9.
Family fun was accomplished when we had the opportunity to participate in the Walk to School Day on October 9, 2013. It was our first time participating and it was surprisingly more fun than I would have thought. We met at a local park and had the privilege of having 4 police escorts for our walk which made it extra fun and super exciting for our five year old son, Lucas. Quite frankly, I was a little gitty with excitement too. We felt special hearing the sirens and having the police stop traffic at 2 major intersections and at 3 small streets. We felt like the President or some VIP as we walked with our police escorts and had several drivers waive, cheer and admire us as we walked. Of course, the police were present to ensure student safety and enforce safety rules for drivers.
Not only were we participating in a global event which supports year-round safe routes to school but it also stimulated conversation between Mommy and Son and we were walking for exercise. Our walk to school was 0.73 miles. That's a nice size walk for young children to get their hearts pumping and their little bodies and brains awoken for school.
As I walked back from school to my car at the park,l there were no police escorts and the excitement of admirers was completely gone! I don't think a single driver noticed that I was walking. It was a bit of a lonely feeling after all the hype of walking to school with police escorts. So I took the time to reflect and realized that I felt less stressed than on my usual morning drive into school. Like most parents, no matter how much we prepare to make school drop off as easy and timely as possible, it inevitably feels rushed in some way. It brought a smile to my face to think that our son was less stressed this morning at school drop off. There was no rushing and he was able to exercise and breath oxygen into his body and brain.
The last words our son heard from me were stimulated by our walk rather than by our usual rushed drive to school. I was relieved that my last words to Lucas before school was not the usual, “Please put your shoes on.” Which then becomes, “Put your shoes on!” And then escalates to “Hurry up and put your shoes on or else you will be late to school!!!”. Instead, our son heard, “I like the way the dry leaves sound when you walk over them.” And his response was an energetic “Me too!” as he continued to skip and jump into dry leaves along the way to school. How good must he have felt and how energized and ready to learn he must have been!
I know I got my heart pumping and my breath breathing a little deeper as I finished my 1.46 mile walk. More importantly, I probably wouldn't of had time to do a walk like that during that morning…and it felt great!
I feel embarrassed to admit that out of habit and convenience, I will drive from one end of a shopping center to another end instead of walking. I now make a conscious effort to at least park in the middle so that I can walk my shopping bags back to my car and I can get some extra walking done while shopping. The saying that says “it takes baby steps to xxxx” is so true. Every little step towards healthy living counts and makes a difference. So just stop and take a few extra steps in your day. You're bound to feel better!
Here's a simple challenge for you: Surprise your family and go for a walk. Perhaps you can walk to the supermarket, or to the park, or to your friends house for a play date. Bottom line, go for a walk! You will love it and your children will love it!
Where did you walk to?
I am fueled by "Paying It Forward in Health" on this site.My main driver in creating this website, alongside my family, is to share our ongoing family health journey in hopes of encouraging others to have the health epiphany that we have been blessed to experience.
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