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Carpe Diem! Countdown to Walk & Bike to School Day, Oct. 8

Laura E. Saponara serves as a Senior Communications Consultant for Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit.

Why walk or bike to school?  Well, for one thing, it’s fun!  As the people behind the fast-approaching annual Walk and Bike to School Day sum it up, “Walking and bicycling bring a sense of joy and independence.”

Inner happiness, the joy of movement, and solidarity with smiling, motivated people are yours (as is so much more ) if you seize the day on October 8.

Walk and Bike to School Day is an international event that is held every year aimed at building awareness of the need for walkable communities. Back in the day, kids actually used to walk and bicycle their way to schools. But in our fast-paced, auto-centric society, just 13% of children regularly walk to school.

WalkToSchoolDay_HomepageMapNow, with chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes on the rise, the need for building regular physical activity into the school day is the rally cry of our time.

Walk Bike to School Day has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation among thousands of schools – each October.   A movement for movement!   One we can all get behind.

You can get started today by choosing a designated starting point  in your neighborhood and asking your neighbors to join you.  If you’re feeling ambitious, this list of 50 ideas may provide perfect fodder.

If you’re not feeling ambitious, the Ohio kids in this video, inspired by GLEE, will help get you out the door.

The incredibly resourceful website created by the National Center for Safe Routes to School allows you to see whether a mover and shaker in your school community has already registered.

And as this is the month of October, you might consider linking your new-found fun of walking and biking to school with the Fire Up Your Feet  fall challenge, led by Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The website offers plenty of incentives and resources to help you and your family to embrace this activity.

Note to the skeptics:  If you are suspicious of joy and prefer a more scientific rationale to participate, consider easy-to-read evidence  compiled by the Centers for Disease Control showing that regular moderate physical exercise can strengthen your bones, improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls and increase your chances of living longer, among many other benefits.

As they say in the movement:  Get set!  Go!  Keep going!

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