Submitted by Healthy Bedford
Even though it’s winter out there, many students and parents can find opportunities to walk to school! Whether you start from your neighborhood or drive part way, the benefits of taking an outdoor winter walk are enormous, both mentally and physically!
Editor’s Note: With moderate weather predicted toward the end of winter vacation week, it may be the perfect time for a Winter Wonderland Walk.
Fresh air, sunshine, and movement are beneficial to our overall health and feelings of well-being. In addition, health experts report that, for most of us, getting just 15 minutes of sun on our face and hands two to three times per week should suffice for getting enough sun for vitamin D production. Sun exposure triggers vitamin D production in the skin, and bones need vitamin D to make the body absorb bone-strengthening calcium properly.
However, winter walking also requires a certain amount of preparation and precaution. Massachusetts Safe Routes to School offers these tips to help encourage students to keep walking during the winter months:
Be Safe and Be Seen
- With less daylight hours, assume drivers can’t see you, so be more cautious.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing.
- Tall snowbanks might limit your ability to see cars. Remember to “sneak and peak” to look for oncoming traffic. If you can’t see them, they can’t see you.
Don’t Slip and Slide
- Watch out for slippery surfaces. Assume that all wet, dark areas on pavement are slippery and icy and should be approached with caution.
- Be sure to wear boots to help keep your balance on snow and ice.
- Walk at a slower pace; walking like a penguin can help you stay balanced, and keep you from taking a spill.
- Give yourself extra time to get to school
Stay Warm and Dry
- Wear a hat, scarf, mittens/gloves, and dress in layers.
- Wear boots and warm socks.
For more information see: https://www.commute.com/safe-routes-to-school/about or visit https://www.bedfordma.gov/healthy-bedford