Little steps to better health during International Walk to School Month

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Friday, October 10th, 2014
October is International Walk to School Month and the Public Health Agency (PHA) is encouraging parents in Northern Ireland to do the school run on foot and start to feel the benefits for both them and their children. Statistics from the charity Living Streets show that in the UK 81% of parents with primary school children walked to school when they were younger, but today only 47% of their children walk to school. Colette Brolly, the PHA lead on physical activity, explained, “It’s important that children are introduced to a culture of being active from an early age as it is something that will stay with them and benefit them throughout their lives. “The great thing about walking is that it is simple and easy to do. It’s something that can be built in to your everyday routine and there’s no better way to get started than walking to school with your kids. “International Walk to School Month gives us all the opportunity to get active and it’s not something that’s just for kids. Make this a family experience and walk with your children to school. It won’t feel like exercise at all and you and your children will get to spend that special time together, as well as becoming more active.” Being physically active is really important for children. It helps to build strong bones, muscles and a healthy heart and helps develop social skills and encourages a sense of wellbeing. Children over the age of five years need to take part in moderate to vigorous intensity activities for at least 60 minutes, and up to several hours, every day. This can be broken up into small chunks of at least 10 minutes throughout the day – it all adds up. For adults, walking at a brisk pace can make you feel good and reduce anxiety, can help you sleep better, and reduces blood pressure, and with 69% of men and 57% of women being overweight or obese in Northern Ireland, walking to school with your children can also help you manage your weight. For further information on the benefits of walking and tips and hints to get started visit
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