Walking to school helps reduce stress in children

A simple morning walk to school could reduce stress reactivity in children during the school day.

A study of some American researchers has indicated that the increase in heart rate and blood pressure can lead to coronary thrombosis later. They found that children who were “brought” to school by means of transport have blood pressure 3 times higher than children who walked to school. Stress level is also twice as high in people who sit passively in front of computers than those who prefer activities.

Senior investigator of the study, Professor James Roemmich from University of Buffalo, said: “The process of cardiovascular disease begins in childhood. Therefore, if somehow this process can be stopped or slowed down, we will receive an important health benefit. We know that physical activities have protective effects on the development of cardiovascular disease, and one way it may be doing so is by reducing stress reactivity.”

In the investigation, Professor Roemmich and his team examined 40 children, ages 10-14. Half of them sat on a comfortable chair and watched a 10-minute slideshow of images of a suburban neighborhood and ended with an image of a local school. The other half performed a true walk at any speed while carrying schoolbags which were 10% of the child’s weight. After a 20-minute rest, all children were tested with questions about colours
whose answers had been wrongly given intentionally so that the subject had to identify himself. The result was, during this activity, heart rate by about 3 beats per minute in children who walked, compared with about 11 beats per minute in children who “rode” to school through images.

Heart rate result and low blood pressure are the reaction of the body to a continuous movement. Previous studies have shown that 9 out of 10 teachers reported that children walking to school were more agile and completed assignments better. Parents and educators generally should create more outdoor activities to stimulate kids to play.

Walking is one cheap form of exercise which is harmless to the environment and easy to do by everyone. Not only it has positive impacts on the health of the mothers but also it is good for children’s study. Therefore, children should be encouraged to walk to school for their own good and for the society as well.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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