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We are Engage• 3 Min read

18th May 2023

UK National Walking Month

What is National Walking Month?

The month of May is officially National Walking Month, a whole 31 days dedicated to walking! The reason behind the month is to encourage people to walk for at least 20 minutes every day. Walking is an excellent way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep active in your everyday life, it can help improve your physical and mental help and even benefits the environment by lowering emissions costs.

Along with it being National Walking Month, a movement called Walk to School Week is a week-long awareness event held in May every year when schools in the UK join forces to promote walking to school.

Walk to School Week

Living Streets 5-day walking challenge from 15th-19th May is a celebration of the walk to school that people make. Their fun and engaging week-long activity for primary schools has been built to make pupils experience first-hand the importance of walking to school.

This challenge encourages children to walk to school and helps them reach their recommended 60 minutes minimum of physical activity per day before they even arrive at the school gates! Last year, over 750 schools across the UK took part and Living Streets want to increase that again this year, so encourage your students and school to take part!

Tips to help you get started

Here are some tips to help your students get started whilst walking in a safe way:

Plan your route:

As much fun as it is to go exploring, it’s important to know your route to find your closest rest stop and see what there is to do in that area. As well as that, make sure to walk in areas designated for pedestrians and stay in well-lit areas with footpaths.

Wear the right footwear:

Wearing suitable shoes is essential when going on walks. Ensure that your shoes are sturdy with a good heel and arch support.

Bring snacks and water:

It is important to bring snacks and water with you to stay energised and hydrated whilst on a longer walk.

Take your time:

It’s easy to want to rush but try to take it slow and enjoy your surroundings.

Set walking goals:

Encourage students and teachers to set realistic walking goals and track their progress using a fitness tracker or walking app. This can motivate them and create a sense of achievement come the end of their walks.

Encouraging your students to walk

Students who engage in some form of exercise in the morning, especially a walk before school, arrive at school refreshed and ready to learn. Not only does it benefit the students but also in turn has a positive effect on the community and environment, reducing congestion and air pollution. We have listed a few ways you can encourage your students to walk to school:

Walking buddies:

Walking with a friend can make the experience more enjoyable and provide social support. Encourage students to find a classroom walking buddy that they can walk to and from school with if they’re able to do so, or even outside of school. Their walking buddy could be a friend or a family member!

Walking groups or clubs:

Consider organising or setting up a walking group or club in your school or education setting. This can provide a sense of community and support, as well as help students meet their walking goals. A teacher that sets it up would act like a role model to the students as they’re taking the initiative to create a walking club during their free time at lunch or after-school clubs!

Give them something to walk for:

Young students can get badges or awards if they walk to school. Over time, the more often they walk to school in a week, the better the reward. This will motivate the students to walk to school and will in turn make them push themselves to walk further each time.

Make it sound fun:

Instead of telling your students to go for a walk, using statements such as “Go explore your local forest” can change their attitude.

Set them a challenge:

Children love having their efforts recognised so signing them up for a challenge and giving them a prize at the end is a good incentive to get them walking.

Incorporate walking into lessons:

If possible, consider incorporating walking into lessons or activities, this can provide a fun and creative way to learn while also promoting physical activity. Activities could include taking a nature walk for a science class or using a walking metre in a maths lesson!

Promote active transportation:

If it is too far for your students to walk or they’re still against the idea, try to encourage them to walk or bike to school if possible instead of driving or taking public transportation. This can help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution and promote physical activity.

National Walking Month provides an excellent opportunity for schools to promote physical activity and healthy habits, so take advantage of it this month so that it is filtered in for the rest of the year! Make the most out of this month and motivate yourself and your students to get walking, and most importantly to stick at it!

National Walking Month is just one of the many celebratory events that schools participate in, check out our reading corner to see which other celebrations and awareness days are next!

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