Keep On Walking
Walking is good for us!
by Claire Law
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to consider the benefits of walking.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Keep On Walking) and the means to display them.
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Highlights of the Race Walk Competition at the London 2012 Olympics’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 4.04 minutes long, but you only need to show it until 1.38 minutes. It is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdXD2Fe6Hx4
- Optional: you may wish to look at this article about the benefits of walking on the health of children: https://www.newfeel.co.uk/advice/why-encourage-children-walk-a_15425
- Show Slide 1.
Ask the children to name ten Olympic sports.
Listen to a range of responses.
- Show Slide 2.
Ask the children, ‘How many Olympic sports do you think there are?’
Listen to a range of responses.
The 2016 Summer Olympics included 28 sports. Five extra sports have been added to the next Olympic Games, which were delayed due to the pandemic, but are expected to be held later this year, taking the total to 33.
- One sport that doesn’t necessarily spring to mind when we’re considering Olympic events is walking. However, long-distance walking is classed as an athletics event.
Show Slide 3.
It differs from running in that one foot must appear to be in contact with the ground at all times. This is assessed by race judges.
There are two race-walking distances contested at the Summer Olympics: a men’s and a women’s 20-kilometre walk and a men’s 50-kilometre walk.
- Show Slide 4.
Walking has been an Olympic event for men since 1904, but it wasn’t until 1992 that women could also compete in Olympic walking events.
- Let’s watch this video to get a better idea. It shows some highlights from the 50-km race-walking event at the London 2012 Olympics.
Show the YouTube video ‘Highlights of the Race Walk Competition at the London 2012 Olympics’ up to 1.38 minutes.
- Walking is a great form of exercise, and May is National Walking Month. Let’s consider what benefits there are to building walking into our daily and weekly routines.
- Researchers who have studied the benefits of walking have called it ‘the nearest activity to the perfect exercise’. It’s free, and little specialist equipment is needed apart from a comfy pair of shoes or trainers. Walking has proved to be a great form of exercise for many people during the national lockdowns of the past year because it has been a simple way for people to get outside and stretch their legs.
- The physical health benefits of walking include reducing our risk of a range of diseases.
- To keep healthy, the NHS recommends that children and young people should aim for an average of at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a day across the week.
Some simple strategies to help us walk more include:
- walking to and from school
- walking to the local shops rather than going in a car
- walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift
- Walking also has significant mental health benefits. A good walk can do wonders for our mental well-being. It can make us feel happier, calm us and take away our worries and anxieties.
Walking outside enables us to pause and take notice: we spot birds, other people, trees, clouds, buildings and activity when we step outside and take a walk.
- So, here is the challenge! How about doing more walking this month?
Time for reflection
Walking helps us to look after our health and care for our bodies and minds. People of various faiths regard this as an act of stewardship: taking good care of God’s creation. Caring for our bodies and minds is a way for many people to show respect to the God who created us.
Walking outside can connect us with the natural world. We spot trees, birds, flowers and so on. For many people, that enables them to reflect upon the beauty of our world. Walking in nature gives us the chance to experience awe and wonder at God’s creation. Psalm 19 expresses this idea well.
Show Slide 5.
People of various religious traditions use walking as a form of prayer. The regular movement offers the chance to still the mind and focus on faith. For people of many world religions, pilgrimages to holy places are important and often involve walking as part of that journey.
Let’s consider how we might find ways to build walking into our daily life, so that we can improve our physical, mental and spiritual health.
We thank you for our bodies and minds, and the beautiful natural world around us.
We know that walking is good for our health and well-being.
Please help us to build walking into our day today.
We pray that the steps that we walk today will give us greater energy, peace and trust in you.