What can children learn about the health and environment benefits of walking to school?

Beyond safety, Safe Routes to School education for children may also address benefits to personal health and the environment provided by walking and bicycling. Health benefits often focus on the importance of physical activity. Children learn about how the cardiovascular and muscular systems function and how physical activity can strengthen these systems. Although most children engage in physical activity primarily because they think it is fun, highlighting the relationship between personal health and physical activity gives children another reason to be physically active. For more information about SRTS and health, see our Safe Routes to School and Health: Understanding the Physical Activity Benefits of Walking and Bicycling to School resource.

Education may also include information about the impact of motor vehicle use on air quality and limited energy resources. Children learn that they can help keep the environment healthy by walking and bicycling instead of traveling in a motor vehicle. To learn how schools around the country have reduced the impact of motor vehicle use in their communities, see our Getting Results: SRTS Programs That Reduce Traffic resource.

For more information on the above topics visit Key Message for Children and for information on ways to deliver the education messages to children visit Strategies for Educating Children

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