It’s Good to Walk!
Prepares for Walk to School Week (15-19 May 2017)
by Rebecca Parkinson (revised, originally published in 2010)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to walk more.
Preparation and materials
You may wish to have the list of important facts in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3, displayed on a screen, in which case you will need the means to do this.
Further information about Walk to School Week is available at: http://tinyurl.com/h9slzwq
Further information about the work of Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, is available at: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/
Carry out a quick survey to find out how the children travel to school. You may like to record numbers travelling by car, bike, bus or on foot and so on.
Ask how many of the children have ever walked to school.
Explain that you want to tell the children a few important facts about walking that they may not know.
- On average, every minute of walking can extend your life by 1.5 to 2 minutes.
- Walking an extra 20 minutes each day can burn off 7 lb (3 kg) of body fat per year. On average, it would take about one hour and 43 minutes of walking to burn off a 510-calorie Big Mac.
- Walking is better for you than running or jogging because less stress is placed on the joints. It reduces body fat and decreases blood pressure.
- Walking provides the following benefits:
- it improves the efficiency of our heart and lungs
- it burns body fat
- it helps to control our appetite
- it increases our energy
- it strengthens the muscles in our legs, hips and torso
- it improves mental alertness and memory
Explain to the children that a generation ago, 70 per cent of children walked to school. Nowadays, less than 50 per cent of children walk to school regularly. This downward trend is contributing to reduced physical activity and increased childhood obesity, traffic congestion and air pollution.
Explain that the Walk to School campaign in the UK is part of an international campaign that encourages children to walk at least part of the way to their school. This year, Walk to School Week will run from 15 to 19 May.
As a school, you may have decided to take part in Walk to School Week, so you may already have some events organized. If not, encourage the children to have a look at the Living Streets website and take part in the campaign themselves. It may be that they just try to walk more and encourage their parents to do so. Alternatively, you could give them a specific ‘walking challenge’ and see if they can achieve it. For example, how many times can they walk round the playground in five minutes?
In the Bible, there is a verse that describes us as ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139.14). Remind the children that Christians believe that God made us and we are amazing! Remind them, too, that although God made us with bodies that can do amazing things, we have a responsibility to look after the bodies that he gave us.
Time for reflection
Think for a moment about how amazing your body is. Whether you are the best at sport or find sport difficult, all of us have bodies that do something wonderful. Take a few deep breaths and think about how fantastic it is that we can breathe. Imagine how, right now, our hearts are pumping blood round our bodies so that we can stay alive – this is amazing!
Spend a moment thinking about how we should care for our bodies. Is there something we can do during Walk to School Week that will help to make our bodies healthier?
Thank you for our amazing bodies.
Please help us to look after them and keep them healthy.
‘He made me’ (Come and Praise, 18)