Why you should walk to school

Check out 15 amazing benefits of walking to school, even if it's just part of the way. Including social, physical, mental and environmental benefits!

It’s not always possible to walk to school if you live a fair distance away, but one thing I’ve noticed from chatting to other mums is that a lot of folks do “the school run” in the car, even if the nursery or school is under a mile away. In fact, according to Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, one in four cars on the roads during peak times is on the school run and the amount of people walking to school has dropped from 70% to under 50% in the last generation.

15 amazing benefits of walking to school, including social, mental, physical and environmental benefits!

15 Benefits of Walking to School

There are some serious benefits to walking with our children and one of the simplest ways to have a daily walk is to walk to school.

  • It raises activity levels in a natural way.
  • It normalizes regular, daily walking as part of a healthy lifestyle and creates healthy habits.
  • It improves mental health.
  • It can ease traffic congestion, so those who need to drive can get where they’re going easier.
  • It reduces air pollution and can have serious benefits for the environment.
  • It reduces fuel consumption, which has a knock on effect for the environment too.
  • It strengthens friendships and communities, as people can walk together.
  • Exercise has been shown to calm children down and help concentration before a day of schoolwork. Walking to school can increase grades!
  • It teaches road safety and awareness.
  • It helps children to be more aware of their surroundings and notice things they wouldn’t otherwise – like trees, birds or fun buildings.
  • It gives you time to chat to your children as you walk.
  • Children who skip, hop, jump and play games whilst walking increase their balance, co-ordination and physical confidence, without even realizing it!
  • It improves congestion at school gates, which can be a dangerous traffic situation for children.
  • It’s the most cost effective way for you to travel.
  • It teaches kids how to dress warmly in the winter and wear waterproofs in the rain.

Maybe you won’t always walk to school. Sometimes the weather is terrible or we’re running late and hopping in the car fits in best with our busy lives – but even walking to school a few times a week could have big improvements. It’s little ways like this that families can make changes that not only affect their physical and mental health, but can have big knock on effects to the environment, just like making switches to cut down on plastic usage and getting in touch with local milkman.

That’s what I want to be a champion of – small things we can all do that really can change the world.

If your school is too far away, how about driving half way and walking some of the way in? You really can embrace the theme of every little helps here. Even walking the last 10 or 15 minutes will have health and environmental benefits.

William isn’t in school yet, but we do go to playgrounds and a local playgroup. It’s less than a 20 minute walk, yet often, we drive. I’m promising to cut that down as much as possible, and as long as the weather allows, we’re going to start walking. Not just in May for one week, but every day that we can in 2018. I want my son to be confident and in touch with the outdoor world and weather even though we live in the center of a busy city.

If you feel like your city isn’t easily walkable – especially with young children – it might be worth stopping and thinking why. Are the pavements not wide enough? Is the walking condition too poor for little feet or pushchairs? Do you feel that the roads aren’t safe? Are there enough pedestrian and zebra crossings? How’s the lighting for walking in the dark mornings and evenings? You could take part in the #walkingcities campaign and forward information to your local council to try and help improve pedestrian access within your city. You can get downloadable campaign calls and a template letter to send to your local newspaper editor to start raising awareness and discussing the issue. 30% of parents think that their city is unsafe for children walking to school and that’s shocking. There are ongoing campaigns for Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff, the West Midlands, London and Oxford Street.

15 amazing benefits of walking to school, including social, mental, physical and environmental benefits!

May is also National Walking Month and as part of Living Street’s #WalkThisMay Campaign (I love that name!) you can sign a petition to pledge to walk to school every day between 21st – 25th May. I’ve signed it!

This post wasn’t endorsed or discussed with Living Streets, I just happened across some social media promotion and realized how much the idea of encouraging other mums and dads to walk to school resonated with me. It has so many advantages, both social, physical, mental and environmental, that I really wanted to share. Please share this post on social media to help raise awareness, and I hope you’ll be walking to school, the playground or playgroup in May, and hopefully beyond!

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28 thoughts on “Why you should walk to school

  1. Lisa M says:

    Signed up for the challenge. We live about 20 minutes walk from juniors, but the walk back alone puts me off. These are good benefits though and definitely something to think about.

  2. Becky | Bringing up the Berneys says:

    When my daughter started school, my partner worked away and couldn’t take her so we had to walk as I didn’t have a car at the time (still don’t!) it’s about a 20minute walk for us on a good day haha. But I honestly feel SO much better for getting out! I hate the thought of it, but it prepares me for the day and I feel so much more energised. Thanks for sharing! X #coolmumclub

  3. Talya says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this we walk to school for all of these reasons but the community one that I love the best – especially seeing as I work from home and don’t see anyone the rest of the day! Thanks for linking up with #coolmumclub 100! x

  4. Jessica Powell says:

    Fab post! When I was a kid we lived three doors away from the primary school (my daughter’s at nursery at the same one now, and we ended up living just a few streets away!) so it wasn’t until secondary that I really had any experience of walking. I loved it though, it was always the time to gossip with friends I didn’t share lessons with. 🙂 #KCACOLS

    • Christy - WelshMum says:

      Absolutely! My dog loves coming out for walks next to the pushchair. Luckily she’s quite elderly now so I can manage both my son and her alone, although since she’s a German Shepherd I would have struggled a lot when she was younger and had more energy. Now she’s just happy to plod along at our pace.

  5. Veronica Lee says:

    My sons’ school was less than a 10 min walk away but it would mean arriving in school drenched in sweat in our hot and humid climate! On cooler days, I would walk home with them from school when they were little.


  6. Mrs morgan plus 3 says:

    I would love to walk to school more but as i have to then get to work quick after dropping everyone off its not something i can do 🙁 i do however park further away from school so we do have a little walk to from the car 🙂 i hate to see the parents who try to get as close as possible to the school! #kcacols

    • Christy - WelshMum says:

      Aw that’s tough, Now I think about it I imagine timing it can be quite difficult for some people, especially those heading straight to work or with multiple children at different schools.

  7. Clare M says:

    I saw the Living Streets campaign and agree it’s a great idea. We used to walk to primary school but that’s all changed now ours are at secondary. I miss the walk and the mum chats #KCACOLS

  8. Pen says:

    We always walk to pre-school and nursery, but then we have no real other option because we don’t have a car. It is only at the end of our road though so even if we did have a car it would be shameful to get in it. We really enjoy the walk (except when it’s raining). It gives us a chance to chat. Pen x #KCACOLS

  9. Amy says:

    We live 10 mins walk from school and then it’s a further 15 mins to work. I told the kids this morning that we needed 2 cars because I “had” to do the school run and drive on to work, but thinking about it I could easily walk round both, it’s not really that far! #kcacols

  10. Tubbs says:

    We walked when we lived locally and we now take the bus. I think it’s good to do if you can as it’s better than always seeing the world from a car and also helps prepare children for when they have to travel by themselves.

  11. Carol Cameleon says:

    Good for you for getting behind this. We drive to school in the mornings for breakfast club so I can get to work on time but we walk the dog round the block beforehand so that wakes us up! I much prefer walking the school run and am fortunate to be able to walk home. I really notice how more awake our 8yo is after a brisk dog walk and am glad to be able to do that before her day starts. #kcacols

  12. Kayleigh (Mini Human Resources) says:

    Fab post! This is something that I feel so guilty about- we live a 20 minute walk away but it’s only a 2 min drive so I usually drive as getting three kids ready and out in the morning means we are usually running late. Must try harder as I really do want to start walking this summer!! #KCACOLS

  13. Julie Downes says:

    I love the walk to infant school and nursery everyday. I’m already dreading when my daughter starts Juniors and I will have to drive there, but maybe if enough time I’ll still be able to walk my son to school. We’ll have to get dog otherwise because I think I’ll really miss the walking. #KCACOLS

  14. jeremy-thirstydaddy says:

    right now we live too far away for this to be practical but next year my daughter will be at a school that is about a 15 minute walk away. We won’t do this everyday, but I look forward to having the option #KCACOLS

  15. Becky @ educating roversi says:

    We live only a 5 minute walk from school so it doesn’t make sense to drive. It takes longer to get everyone in the car! If I’ve been out somewhere and don’t have time to get home, get the buggy out and get down to school, I may pick him up in the car but that is rare.
    Our school is terrible for congestion with cars dropping off. The local Working Men’s club lets parents use its car park which is helpful for those further afield.
    I tend to pick up more than I drop off, the hubby does that, but it’s a good time to chat to my son and find out what he’e been up to before we get home to distractions – Tv, toys etc #KCACOLS

  16. Cassie says:

    If I can then I try to walk to preschool for pick up Orleans half way and walk the restart drop off. As it starts at 8:30am we never seem to be out of the house early enough and always end up in the car as we are inevitably running late. Likewise at pickup. I only get 3 hours before it’s pick up time so I usually wanna use my time and leave later in the car. I fully intend to walk all the time once he’s starts Big school bough because I sometimes get caught in the madness of the big school drop off and it’s bedlam!


  17. Sarah MumofThree World says:

    I’m totally with you on this! When my kids were at primary school, we walked to school every single day. I did find myself getting rather annoyed at some of the terrible driving and parking around the school and was so glad not to be a part of that.
    Now my kids are all at secondary school and two of them get the bus and I drive the other one. I’m so glad they had that experience of walking to school though.
    Popping over from Living Linky.

  18. Crummy Mummy says:

    We don’t walk to school as it’s too far away but we do walk to nursery which is just around the corner when I know some parents drive the same distance… #KCACOLS

  19. mainy says:

    I would love for my kids to walk to school as I did when I was their age. Not possible for us so we make sure that we have walks in the week and plenty of sport on our weekends.

  20. Tracey Bowden says:

    I used to walk to primary school with my daughter but now she is in secondary school, we do drive the school run. I know I should make her walk more, it is about a 30 minute walk and along the same main road we live on, but some days we are running late and it is easier to drive. That being said she does walk home most days. #kcacols

  21. Bread says:

    I used to walk to school when I lived in Coventry as a kid but when I moved to Wales, well, that all changed. My son won’t be going to village school but we will be walking up the hill from the bus stop every day. #kcacols

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