Students who attend programs at the Bingara Library embraced National Walk Safely to School recently, with an escort to the school gate by Librarian Gail Philpott. Children spent the morning enjoying a pancake breakfast to start the day full of energy before walking to school as part of the event’s 21st year.
National Walk Safely to School Day is a community event that provides an opportunity to ensure children are getting to school with safe pedestrian behavior such as holding an adult’s hand when crossing the road.
The day is a community initiative that aims to raise awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking (especially to and from school) can provide for the long-term wellbeing of our children.
Apart from the physical benefits, regular walking also has a favourable impact on their mental health and academic performance.
Professor Patrick McGorry AO is urging families with primary school aged children to start putting their best foot forward following a significant rise in anxiety, depression and overall poor mental health among young Australians due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Research by Orygen shows that regular exercise, like walking to and from school, has a positive impact on anxiety and depression which is why we are encouraging primary school aged children to step into spring this September for National Walk Safely to School Day,” he said.
It also encourages parents and carers to walk more, reducing dangerous traffic congestion around schools, while minimising the risk of Australian children developing heart disease and diabetes.
Whilst not all children live within the usual walking distance to school the Pedestrian Council of Australia suggest getting off the bus a few stops earlier or leaving the car at least 1km away from school and walking the rest of the way will go a long way to improving health and reducing environmental impact.