6 Reasons To Walk to School
Ah, the commute… Our constant, unchanging companion. Though we’ve had a pretty lengthy break from it over the last year, for most of us it’s now back with a vengeance. Whether you’re commuting to school or work, it’s a part of the day that doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere (unless, of course, global pandemics decide to become a regular thing), so we may as well learn to love it. In honour of National Walk To School Month, we’ve put together a few points in support of a commute that doesn’t take place in a bus or car to hopefully edge you slightly closer to the coveted, wonderfully wholesome status of walking lover.
It’s a brilliant source of exercise
Nothing feels better than getting your blood pumping first thing in the morning. If running doesn’t light your fire (and who could blame you?) walking is an excellent alternative for those looking to start their day with a bit of physical activity. Even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing when you wake up, once you’re walking, you’ll be amazed at how invigorating it is. A lot of people find a brisk walk helps them build a feeling of momentum, sharpening their brain for a day of work by getting both their physical and mental muscles into gear. The effect that staying active can have on your mental wellbeing is remarkable and starting your day with exercise will help arm you with the confidence and energy you’ll need to face the various challenges school may throw at you.
It allows you to connect to the outdoors
We humans have come to live very indoorsy lives. It may well be the case that the commute is the only opportunity you have to properly be outside and take in some fresh air. So, make the most of it! Being outside has the power to radically transform your mood, whatever stress or anxiety you may be carrying. Whether you live in a concrete jungle or the depths of the countryside, you’ll always be able to pick up on the beauty of your surroundings if you look hard enough. If school just isn’t calling to you today, a refreshing nip of autumn air might be exactly what you need to lift your spirits.
It saves money
Having had a sizeable break from them, we all shared a collective gasp as we remembered just how high cumulative transport costs can be as we emerged from the pandemic. You may not notice it happening, but once you add it all up, you’ll be shocked at how quickly excessive spending on tube, train or bus journeys can chip away at your bank balance. (Not to mention petrol costs if you drive to school.) If you’re looking to save a bit of money here and there, eliminating these costs is a great way to cut down on everyday spending.
The environment will thank you
If the car is your chosen means of transport when it comes to getting to school, your bank account won’t be the only thing that suffers. Road transport accounts for almost a quarter of the UK’s CO2 emissions. (That’s a lot). Not only does this contribute heavily to climate change, it has a dire effect on air quality which can impact people’s health and that of animals as well as healthy plant growth. While it is, of course, a tad ambitious to suggest a complete elimination of vehicle usage at this stage, particularly for those in rural areas, reducing the number of times per week that you travel to school by car is a very positive first step in reducing your carbon footprint.
It’s a great time to catch up on listening material
Homework piling up? Are you falling behind on your podcasts as a result? Enter your walk to school! That hour or so before the day gets started is the perfect time to slowly get your brain into gear by tuning into some listening material, whether that’s a podcast, the radio, or an audiobook. Or maybe you’d rather get some good music going. Curating the music you listen to while walking is a great way to access the energy you need to power through the day. If you need some decent pumping up before double PE, some killer tunes are exactly what we recommend. My personal favourite tracks to walk to include:
Sapokanikan - Joanna Newsom
Paris s’éveille - Jacques Dutronc
One angry dwarf and 200 solemn faces - Ben Folds
Love & Pride - King
Sweet Disposition - Temper Trap
You might find music or podcasts a bit overwhelming first thing in the morning. That’s fine - instead, make the most of this time alone to reconnect with yourself and practice mindfulness. Though if, in the run-up to the start of the school day, you find yourself a bit too tense to properly relax and classify the walk as self-care, there are plenty of ways to use this stretch of time productively as well. For example, if you have an assessment coming up, going over your revision notes in your head is a great way to feel that bit more confident before the test. Or perhaps you’ve recorded yourself reciting vocabulary or formulas on your phone (in which case we heartily congratulate you) - what better time to tune in and do a bit of mental consolidation?
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking” - Neitzche
Hopefully our case for walking to school has made you think about how much of a gift a stroll in the fresh air can be. Don’t wish it away! If you have the option of taking the scenic route over public transport, engaging in a bit of flâneurie before school can be the perfect way to begin your day, even for the less morning-devoted. So start setting your alarm that bit earlier and welcome the exquisite charm of walking into your life.
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