This month at DLA, we’re participating in the David Suzuki Foundation 30×30 Challenge. We’ve committed to spending 30 minutes a day in nature for 30 days, and we’re sharing how we’ve done that with our co-workers. May also happens to be National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, so we’ve heard about how important it is to get out, get active, and improve health and well-being.
All this focus on the outdoors and physical activity got us thinking about the schools we design and how active environments have the potential to enable students to “get moving.” There are many strategies to reach this goal, such as designing schools with stairs or locating the cafeteria in a spot on campus that requires a certain amount of walking for all students to reach it. Depending on the school and it’s location in the community, simply encouraging students to walk or ride their bike is a great way to fit some exercise into the day. Neighborhood schools not only build strong communities, but in this respect, they build strong kids!
Walking and biking to school is also a great way for kids to get the physical activity needed for healthy minds. Kids who are more physically active have better academic performance. Studies are also beginning to show that exposure to nature and free outdoor play can reduce stress and relieve ADHD symptoms.