Many Franklin and Grand Isle communities and their partners have been working hard to make their communities more walkable and bikeable.

They’ve added, or are planning, sidewalks, recreation paths and bike lanes. Schools have joined in with Walking Wednesdays, classes on safe biking, walks for students and biking field trips. Walking and biking aren’t just pleasurable activities. They’re also good for you, say local physicians.

Dr. Deanne Haag of Northwestern Pediatrics is a strong advocate of the benefits of walking with children. “Not only does it set a positive, life-long example of a healthy lifestyle, but it helps in their healthy physical development,” she said.

In addition to exercise, walking with kids is a chance to talk and play together. “Consider using that time to play games along the way such as ‘I Spy’ or ‘Red Light, Green Light,’” suggested Haag. “Kids also love collecting little items for an art project. And remember, walking with kids, and teens especially, is a great way for the family to unplug and connect.”

“These walks can become family traditions – a Walking Wednesday- or a chance to share in walking the dog each day. Whatever their age-or yours, walking with kids has benefits that go well beyond the exercise,” she said. “See the world in a different way through your toddler’s eyes, or relax with your teen.”

It’s not just children who benefit, however. “As a physician, I know the negative impact on our health due to inactivity, along with smoking and poor diet. I see it with my patients every day,” said NMC Lifestyle Medicine Medical Director Elisabeth Fontaine, M.D. Dr.

To encourage her patients to bike, “I mention to my patients how much I enjoy moving,” said Fontaine. “Biking, for me, allows me to travel and enjoy the ride in a totally different way.”

So, whether you’re out exploring your neighborhood in a new way with your kids, or using physical activity as an opportunity to travel and enjoy the route in a different way, walking and biking are great activities for young and old alike. And, it’s doctor recommended.


Photo Caption: Because National Walk to School Day fell on a snow day, Bakersfield Elementary Middle School (BEMS)was forced
to get creative. BEMS held a “Walk From School” last Wednesday. Faculty volunteers and students left the school and walked to the town hall where parents and busses met for pick up. All students and staff participated in this walk. Any students that take part in after school programs walked back to school with staff.