While I was walking at a nearby high school today, I was struck by the amount of litter on the grounds. This is an upper middle class community. The school district is AAA rated. The grounds not so much. I'd give them a D- .
Why, I wondered does it cost a gazillion dollars a year to support these huge high schools and another gazillion to maintain the grounds? Why is keeping their school looking clean and tidy not a priority for the students and their families? Why do we pay others (an entire grounds crew) to maintain the grounds when every class in high school has a required service project? Why is the school not its own service project?
What, you are asking about now, does this have to do with walking? Well, the kids do precious little physical activity during a school day. In many areas, there is no longer a P.E. class and some schools don't even allow outdoor recess. What do they think all that sitting around is doing to our kids?
First, the kids get on a school bus or are driven to school. Only a tiny percent walk to school every day. Then, other than walking a few yards between classrooms, they sit all day long. When they get home, the sit doing (we hope) homework for a bit - the it's off to sit in front of the TV or computer. Sit, Sit, Sit.
What you get from growing kids that sit most of the day is:
ADD/ADHD - or something that looks remarkably like that
What results from getting kids to move for 20-40 minutes every day (ok, the schools only have them 5 days a week) is the release of endorphins in the brain - actual changes in brain chemistry - that result in a sense of wellness. You also get less obesity and mischief, better behavior in the classroom, and far less depression/anxiety/substance abuse.
Don't take my word for it. Read a bit. Research this on your own. Find out what moving your own body for 20-40 minutes a day does for you. Does it do ANYTHING negative??? Nope!
If it must be an activity that is institutionalized by the schools, so be it. Make it a service project to move for 20-40 minutes a day. Walk the grounds, pick up litter, plant flowers, sweep walks, shovel snow, spread sand and salt, paint stripes on the football field. Do whatever light physical labor needs to be done at the schools. Take pride in it. Own it!
There is no downside to this! It will benefit the community and each individual student in every one of our schools, from PreK to 12th grade.
***************************Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.
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