Walking to School Can Reduce Stress

Walk to Halk

Researchers at the University of Buffalo report that a morning walk to school could reduce the amount of stress children feel later in the day. Heart rate and blood pressure levels remain lower, which can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease later in life.

The researchers note, “Cardiovascular reactivity — including changes in heart rate and blood pressure due to stress — is associated with the beginnings of cardiovascular disease in children, and atherosclerosis — the dangerous build-up of cholesterol, calcium, fat and other substances in artery walls — in adults.”

Think kids don’t get stressed? Remember how you felt taking a test, speaking in front of classmates and just trying to fit in.

The researchers go on: “?Because it’s not known how long the protective effect of a bout of exercise lasts, parents and educators should promote active play time throughout the day.?If it only lasts a couple of hours, then it would be most beneficial if a child walked or biked to school, then had recess during school, as well as a break at lunch, so they had opportunities for physical activity throughout the day. This would put them in a constantly protective state against stressors that they’re incurring during the school day.”

Other studies suggest that being fitter helps make kids smarter.

Encourage your children (and yourselves) to get more exercise! Form a walking school bus or bicycle train, both of which promote safe routes to school.

Read more about our Walk to Hawk program. Let us know if you’d like to start a similar program in your child’s school.

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