Walking for wealth

St Peter Chanel Catholic Primary School students hit the pavement for National Walk Safely to School Day on Friday, walking along Sampson Avenue in Smithton. Pictures: Janelle McGowan. 

Exercise. Pounding the pavement, local students took part in National Walk Safely to School Day last Friday. 

The annual initiative aims to promote physical activity in Australian children and teach road safety. 

St Peter Chanel Catholic Primary School, Circular Head Christian School and Smithton Primary School were among those to take steps for improved wellbeing. 

“Walking to school is a great way to start the day with some fresh air and exercise,” said St Peter Chanel assistant principal Nicki Pitt, “as well as ensuring students are in a good mindset ready for learning.” 

However fewer than one in five children around the country are meeting the national recommendation of 60 minutes of physical activity every day. 

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman and chief executive officer Harold Scruby said one in four children in Australia are overweight or obese. 

“Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for so many chronic diseases,” he said. 

“The best exercise for all of us is regular walking because you can build it into your daily routine. You have to invest in regular physical activity in order to get a dividend, it’s never free.” 

Mr Scruby added there are further benefits to regularly walking including favourable impact on students’ cognitive and academic performance, reduced traffic congestion around schools, environmental benefits, road safety practices and the development of healthy habits. 

“Until they are 10, children must always hold the hand of an adult when crossing the road.”

He added that children learn by example and figures show that 75 per cent of children who have at least one active parent will take part in sport and physical activity outside school hours. 

Ms Pitt said in addition to extra curricular activities, the school fosters this values through daily PE. 


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