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The surprising benefits of active travel for children

  • 2 min read



Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike, scooter or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day.

Recently the Sustrans team have compiled research that highlights the benefits of active travel for young people. 

So whether you and your family are scooting to school, walking to work or using public transport you can be safe in the knowledge that you are getting fitter while doing so. 

The Sustrans findings can also be used by schools and other groups to help implement an active travel policy. 

Why Active Travel? 

The research compiled by Sustrans shows that active travel to school makes children more alert and ready to face the school day than if they had arrived in a car. 

“Walking, cycling or scooting to school wakes up the mind and body”. 

Active travel to school can increase concentration by up to 4 hours

15 minutes of exercise can improve a child’s mood 

Almost 20% of children aged 10-11 are obese 

Physical activity can encourage healthy growth and development, maintain a healthy weight and reduce anxiety and stress. It can improve musical strength, endurance and flexibility in children and adolescents.

How to get involved? 

The amount of data that corroborates the benefits of active travel for children is overwhelming. We can all easily sign up to the fact that getting out and active every day is a great thing for our children’s health and wellbeing and is also great for the environment. But actually doing so is sometimes harder. So how can you incorporate active travel in your life? 

The wonderful thing about active travel is its simplicity to slot it in to your everyday life. The Chief Medical Officer recommends children are active for 60 minutes a day. Splitting up those 60 minutes in to bite size chunks during your day is easy to achieve when you think about it in terms of the journeys you make every day. 

For example, the average school run is just 1.5 miles. Taking the car for this short distance is fraught with problems; finding a car parking space, traffic jams, environmental impacts etc etc. The average person takes 20 minutes to walk a mile and just under 10 minutes to scoot it. 



So a school run there and back every day ticks 20 minutes off the 60 minutes of exercise recommended by the CMO.

More resources

Sustrans also report “children who walk to primary school develop road safety awareness and are less vulnerable when they walk independently to secondary School”.

If you are thinking of giving up the car to walk or scoot to school please do have a look at;

The Micro Scooters Scoot Safe scheme

Packed full of tips, advice and free downloads to help teach your children how to use their scooters safely.

The Sustrans guide on walking or cycling to school >>