Walking During Free Bells

Walking During Free Bells

Ali Zimmerman, News' Editor '26

Walking During Free Bells

One of the best things a person can do to clear their mind and get moving during the day is to take a walk outside. Taking a walk is proven to reduce stress, increase happiness, improve sleep, and increase ability to focus and learn.[1] The CDC recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of exercise per day, and walking is a great way to get this exercise in.[2] Walking is something that can be done by the vast majority of people from all over the world. It requires no special skill, no expensive equipment, can have comfortable attire, and is only as time consuming as the person out for a walk makes it.

While taking a walk inside has great benefits, going for a stroll outside is even better. Spending time outdoors also improves mental health, reducing anxiety and depression.[3] It improves sleep, increases creativity, and sends an overall calming signal to the brain. Combine walking and nature and it’s the perfect way to de-stress. While taking nature walks is so good for the body and so easy to do, students at Cincinnati Country Day School are not allowed to take walks outside during their free bells.

Country Day Upper School students should be allowed to take walks outside during their free bells. One of the major draws that CCD has is its 62-acre campus. There is a beautiful track, a barn with animals, and tennis courts. With all these resources available, it seems a pity not to take advantage of them. In the lower and middle schools at CCDS, there is a fantastic outdoor education program that allows kids to explore the wonderful campus and learn about nature in a fun and safe way. In the upper school, however, there is hardly any outdoor education class.

On top of that, the furthest the high schoolers are allowed to go is the amphitheater directly outside the building. Country Day’s new mission statement as of 2022 states that they are “creating leaders.” Creating leaders requires letting them find inspiration from what works best for them, and if it helps to walk around their school’s campus, supporting them. How can a school create leaders if they don’t allow them to take charge of themselves once in a while?

Although walking outside has many benefits, one must also look at the reasons why it may not be allowed currently. These are safety concerns. If a student trips and falls, hitting their head, and no one is around, will they be able to get up on their own? If someone decides to leave campus and go somewhere else, how does the school know they are going to be safe? While these are concerned to keep in mind and discuss, creating leaders involves taking risks. Freshmen are the youngest in the upper school with four years left until they go off to college. It is not good to not allow budding adults to walk by themselves without supervision.

There is always some chance that something bad will happen, but does that mean people don’t get out of the bed in the morning? There are ways to try and ensure that students will be safe walking outside. There could be a sign out sheet for one, so that it is known what student went out at what time. A rule could be put in place that when walking, phones have to be down and off in order to keep eyes in front to try to prevent falling. Many ideas could come up with just a five minute brainstorm, but there has to be a way to let students safely walk outside.

Walking in nature boosts energy and brings people back to what’s important.[4] It’s a great way to get past writers block and find inspiration. It’s free to do and it gives much needed exercise. Students above the age of fourteen should be able to be trusted enough to clear their mind by walking on the track available and close to them. Juniors, seniors, and even some sophomores can drive to school by themselves but are not trusted enough to take a walk just a few feet from their school building. Some rules may have to be put in place about walking during a free bell, but there must be some middle ground.

Walking in nature helps people unplug, so CCDS Upper School students should be allowed to take walks outside, on their huge campus, during their free bells. Could this restriction be taken away?

[Editor’s note: The walking restriction was lifted. Thank you, Ali! Stay tuned for more details.]


“Walking.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 June 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/walking/index.htm.

B, Belza, et al. “Mall Walking: A Program Resource Guide.” University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center, https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/mallwalking-guide.pdf.

“Are There Benefits to Spending Time Outdoors?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Apr. 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/outdoors.htm.

“5 Powerful Reasons Why Walking & Nature Is Good for Us (According to Science).” The Hiking Photographer, 18 Jan. 2022, https://www.hikingphotographer.uk/2021/12/nature-walking-good-health-mental-physical.html.

Calmpreneur. “10 Amazing Health Benefits of Walking in Nature.” Calmpreneur, 8 Jan. 2020, https://calmpreneur.com/walking-nature-benefits/.

[1] Are There Benefits to Spending Time Outdoors, CDC, 18 April 2022.

[2] Walking, CDC, 3 June 2022.

[3] Why Walking and Nature is Good For Us, Stuart Hodgson, 1 January 2022.

[4] Health Benefits of Walking in Nature, Suzannah X, 21 April 2021.