Posted at: 10/09/2013 6:30 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

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International Walk to School Day

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- In an effort to get kids up and moving, more than 20 local elementary schools encouraged kids not to ride the bus this morning - but instead walk or bike to school. Ironically though, not all the students in Rochester had the option of walking to school today, but they found other ways to make up for it. 

Students at Washington Elementary School come from all over the Rochester area, so the long trek to school makes it difficult for students to take part in Wednesday’s International Walk to School Day. But that doesn't mean they didn't get active. Once they got to school, kids dropped their bags and took laps around the school yard before class Wednesday morning.

"I think it's great, I think they need way more activity than they're getting,” said Physical Education Teacher Louise Daley.

"Children now are having more difficulty with obesity and we want to emphasize the importance of being outside, being active,” said JoAnne Judge-Dietz with Olmsted County Public Health.

But teachers say walk to school day goes beyond just being healthy.

"It also has to do with concentration, focus, discipline issues are less if they're active because they've used some of that energy,” said Daley.

What better way to get these kids active than bringing in college football players for encouragement.

"Just running around with them, showing them a good time before school,” said Dominique Young, RCTC Football Linebacker.

The RCTC football players made it out to a few elementary schools to show students that exercising can be fun.

"If the kids come out and see the big college football players with a jersey on interacting with them, that's going to make them want to do that on their own time, get their friends together,” said Young.

Getting high fives and encouragement from these role models makes being active a good thing in the minds of these young children.

There were events scheduled at several elementary schools in the area this morning. Parents and teachers also used today to talk with students about safety when walking or biking to school.