Walk for Wellness Club
Start a walking club to get students, teachers, administrators and the community to make walking part of their day - every day! This Play was developed in collaboration with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
How Does It Work?
Walking is a great form of exercise, and it's easy — you can fit it in whenever and wherever it works! Not only that, being physically fit can help you in school, and it's a fun way to spend time with friends or even make some new ones.
- Evidence that aerobic fitness is more salient than weight status in predicting standardized math and reading outcomes in fourth- through eighth-grade students. 2013. Journal of Pediatrics.
- The Influence of Childhood Aerobic Fitness on Learning and Memory. (Research Abstract). 2013. PLoS One.
- 100 Mile Club and Fuel Up to Play 60 Team Up for Success. 2013. Fuel Up to Play 60 Success Story.
Huddle up with your principal to give your plans a thumbs up and to establish safe walking routes; teachers or other adults to oversee the club; and students to walk! Ask the P.E. teacher to talk to students about the benefits of doing a regular activity like walking. Think about what time(s) of day might work best for your school. Before school — along with a Grab and Go Breakfast — might be a great pairing of physical activity and healthy eating.
Check out walking areas in and around the school and mark off some distances to help motivate students to go a little farther every day. Plan for rainy days and make at least one route inside the school. Invite the school principal, a teacher, parent, community leaders or other adults to lead a walk once a week.
Set goals: Set targets for your club — make it the 100 Mile Club or Walk to the Stadium Club. Keep track of how far students walk each day and try to walk the distance from your school to your local NFL team's home stadium in time for a home game!
Set up monthly or quarterly goals and contests that include cool prizes for students who "go the distance!"
Safety first: Create a flyer to help walkers know how to stretch and warm up. Be sure to pay attention to healthy practices and stay hydrated during walking club activities.
Consider ways to get and keep people interested in your walking club. Hold a Kickoff event to get people excited. Hold weekly or monthly "extras" like encouraging walkers to carry hand weights, break up the walk with lunges or sprints, or create stop-and-go exercise stations to add other fitness activities into the morning walk. Consider using the morning walks as a way to help get your group ready for a local community walk for charity — lots of cities and towns have these!
Work with your school nutrition professionals and the principal to time your club so it is before or after your school's breakfast programs. Students need physical activity and a nutritious breakfast!
Spread the Word
Make posters or flyers telling people about the club. Get the word out on your school's website, blog or in your school's eNewsletter or during morning announcements. Put up markers (like paper feet or football cleats) in the gym or cafeteria to keep track of how far the club members walk throughout the year. Invite local celebrities to come to walking club events.
Get Others Involved
Everyone can help:
- Mark off walking routes in and around the school
- Create awareness materials like posters and announcements
- Encourage friends and classmates to join the club
- Provide parents with information about the club
- Work with local businesses to donate resources
- Work with local sports stores or clubs and have a representative come speak to your club
Involve the community. Schedule a meeting with your school's parent organization and let them know what they can do to help. See our Homefield Advantage tips to help involve parents at school and at home.