Take a hike, ride a bike or scoot to school for Walk Safely to School Day 2019

Hand-in-hand: Pupils get ready to walk to school to promote more active lifestyles as part of an annual campaign.

Hand-in-hand: Pupils get ready to walk to school to promote more active lifestyles as part of an annual campaign.

Students at schools across the state will put on their walking shoes this week when an annual "walkathon" takes its steps.

May 17 is the 20th year of the Walk Safely to School Day, when families across NSW are encouraged to swap car pick-up and drop-offs for a stroll.

The day also aims to teach children about safe road behaviour.

Sport Australia chief executive Kate Palmer says it is a great initiative to teach children about how to super-charge their health, well-being and learning.

"Australia has an inactivity crisis, so it's vital for the health and future of our nation that we help our children find any opportunities to be more active," she said.

"Data shows 81 per cent of children are not achieving the recommended physical activity guideline of one hour a day. A quarter of Australia children are obese and it will only get worse if we don't intervene.

"Walking is a simple, accessible and effective way to get children active. It's well researched that sport and physical activity play a positive role in children's educational achievement, helping improve their cognitive development and attention at school."

She encourages parents and grandparents to use National Walk Safely to School Day as an exercise to kick-start healthy habits in families.

"Every parent encourages their children to take their first step, let's keep that encouragement going as they continue to grow-up. Maybe consider walking to school together when you can," she said.

"Escape the chaotic school drop-offs and spend some quality time walking with your kids or grandkids to and from school, or park the car a few blocks away and walk part of the way. It's good for children, parents and the environment."

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