Several area schools are sponsoring walk to school days over the coming weeks.

Walking to school is a great way for kids to start their days. Studies have shown exercise in the morning can make them more alert and attentive in school.

Walking also helps combat obesity, improves heart function and fosters good bone growth.

Some parents report that walking to school provides an opportunity to have serious or playful talks with their kids. It's also good for the environment.

So wake up a few minutes early and hoof it to school for a day or even a week. You'll be glad you did.

To learn more about walking to school, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/kidswalk/.

--Melissa Kossler Dutton