ELK GROVE -- For some students, it's part of their normal morning routine. But for others in the Elk Grove Unified School District, Wednesday was a first -- and a step in the right direction.
Thousands of children participated in Walk to School Day, a national initiative that started in 1997, in which kids meet in designated areas near their school to walk or bike to campus together.
"They get to group together and walk to school, so maybe it'll make the parents feel a little more comfortable with them walking, and I think they really enjoy it, being able to visit before school instead of just rushing in," parent Dawnielle Meier said.
Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control show there is a link between physical exercise and academic performance among school-aged children.
Whether that exercise happens at recess, PE class, or during their walk to school, there was a positive impact between physical activity and cognitive activity.
"It just kind of just gets everything going in the body," Elk Grove Unified School District spokesperson Xanthi Pinkerton said. "Your mind warms up. It just helps students be alert right away."
And if that wasn't enough, the parent teacher organization at John Ehrhardt Elementary added another incentive. Every student who walked to school would get a raffle ticket. The prize is a brand new bike and helmet.
"We did this last year as well, and the little girl rode her bike this morning, who won last year, and she was super excited," parent Frisha Moore said.
The goal -- make this into a regular activity, rather than just a once a year celebration.