This wednesday, May 9 2012 is National Bike To School Day in the United States. This event sponsored by the National Center for Safe Routes to School with the League of American Bicyclists encourages active transportation for school children.
Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the regular physical activity they need each day while also forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Regular physical activity helps children build strong bones, muscles and joints, and it decreases the risk of obesity. In contrast, insufficient physical activity can contribute to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and adolescents get one hour or more of physical activity each day. Research suggests that physically active kids are more likely to become healthy, physically active adults, underscoring the importance of developing the habit of regular physical activity early.
Many schools around the United States participate in National Bike To School Day with programs to encourage biking or walking and incentives for children who bike or walk to school. Volunteers will serve out free breakfasts at my daughter’s school, for example.
I wish I thought of this a couple of weeks ago — I could have done a little bike clinic for all of the children and their parents who live at my apartment complex, which is something like a half mile from the middle school. I’ll put this on my calendar for next year.
What will your school or community leaders do this week to encourage biking to school?
When we get Drive to Work Day, we’ll know we’ve arrived.