A former Wales football captain has spoken in support of walking to school.

UEFA vice president and ex-Wales football captain, Professor Laura McAllister, is among thousands of parents in Wales taking part in Walk to School Week, from May 20 to 24.

The initiative will see more than 250,000 children in more than 900 schools across the UK ditch their usual transport to school in favour of a leisurely walk.

Professor McAllister said: "Walking with my girls to school is a lovely way to start the day – we chat about the day ahead and get energised before we start school and work."

She emphasised the importance of children developing a love of exercise from a young age and highlighted the fun side of travelling to school by walking, scooting, or cycling.

She said: "It’s so important to instil a love of exercise at an early age.

"Walking, scooting, or cycling to school is a fun and easy way for kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity."

According to Professor McAllister, only half of primary school children in Wales walk to school, meaning many are missing out on the extensive mental and health-related perks.

She said she hopes the Living Streets' Walk to School Week urges pupils and their families to "discover the magic of walking."

Living Streets, an everyday walking charity, commissioned a survey which asked parents and caregivers in Wales about the benefits experienced by their children from walking regularly.

82 per cent of respondents reported physical health benefits, while improved road safety skills, quality time spent with family, and improved wellbeing were named by 59 per cent, 56 per cent and 53 per cent of respondents respectively.

Walk to School Week, organised by Living Streets, takes place as part of their National Walking Month campaign.

Families are motivated to walk, cycle, scoot or 'Park and Stride' throughout the week.

The campaign is set to make children healthier and happier, reducing the number of cars outside school gates.

Katherine Holcroft, who leads Living Street’s walk to school programme, said: "I'm delighted that Laura McAllister is supporting Walk to School Week.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for pupils to come together and enjoy the many benefits of walking to school.

"We can’t wait to see families getting out in the fresh air and joining Walk to School Week.

"We’re also delighted that thousands more children in Wales will enjoy the benefits of walking to school, thanks to a two-year project funded by the Welsh Government."