Walking to school a step in the right direction: Heart Foundation

Students at Singleton Public School walked safely to school on Walk Safely to School Day today, May 19.

ON Walk Safely to School Day – Friday, May 19 – the Heart Foundation is calling for South Australian families to make this experience a regular outing – with adults walking with primary school children to school to improve their health and safety.

Heart Foundation SA CEO, Ms Imelda Lynch said walking children to school was beneficial to the health of all members of the family, whether grandparents, mum and dad or the family dog.

“Physical inactivity, at 34.9%, is a major contributor to the cardiovascular disease burden in South Australia,” Ms Lynch said.

“Walking together is a great experience for the family to share and provides an opportunity for adults to role model walking as a great way to get from A to B.”

“Often, we lament our busy lifestyles, however, prioritising this as valuable family time together provides a wonderful opportunity to converse and engage whilst adding to our daily exercise tally.”

“The Heart Foundation knows the health benefits of walking and we want to encourage young children to enjoy the experience of walking or riding in the fresh air.”

“These days around 70 per cent of children are regularly driven to and from school, compared with 16 per cent in 1970. Our lives are busy and we are driving because we feel it will save time,” Ms Lynch said.

“It doesn’t have to be every day or the whole trip – if you’ve got a long distance to travel just parking a short walk from the school and finishing the journey on foot is good for your health.”

Now in its 18th year, the annual national Walk Safely to School Day is an event that seeks to encourage Primary School children to walk and commute safely to school.

“Being at school can mean longer periods of sitting at desks and extra screen-time, so introducing more opportunities to move tackles inactivity,” Ms Lynch said.

“Eight in 10 Australian children do not meet national guidelines of at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, with only around one in four children walking or riding to school.

“One hour of physical activity daily is an easier target if you can factor in some active travel trips rather than children sitting in the back seat of a car. Learning how to be active at a young age can set you up for an active life.”

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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