Why all kids should be riding bikes

 

From the first toddler push-bike to learning to ride on a tricycle, to the independence of cycling to a friend’s house - kids and bikes have long gone hand in hand.

Rather than an early childhood rite of passage, why not make sure cycling becomes a part of your child’s life? Not only does it provide a number of health benefits like improved concentration and mood control, it's also great for their confidence.

Developing skills and fitness

Regular cycling helps with the development of leg muscles, core strength and general fitness. It improves stamina and cardiovascular functioning and sets your kids on an early path to a healthy heart.

It also allows children to practise their fine and gross motor skills, co-ordination and balance, all skills that will help them as they grow into young adults.

Cycling also helps to improve children’s spatial awareness and navigational and observation skills. Whether they are dodging potholes, negotiating rough off-road terrain or finding their way to a friend’s house, they are learning and developing essential life skills along the way.

But the benefits are more than merely physical.

Stimulating neurons and improving nutrients to the brain

Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise like riding stimulates neurons and improves the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.

This in turn increases energy levels and cognitive functioning, including social and creative skills. The benefits are immediate.

Research conducted in Denmark recently studied almost 20 000 children between the ages of 5 and 19. It concluded that cycling to school increases concentration during school hours, with the heightened concentration still evident four hours after the cycle to school.

Cycling and ADHD

Some have taken this correlation even further and the last few years have seen a number of studies around the benefits of cycling on children with ADHD.

Research applying physical exercise as an alternative treatment for ADHD has consistently produced positive results. In 2012, Specialized Bikes and RTSG Neuroscience spent five days a week for a month measuring the effects of cycling in two groups of children with ADHD (or displaying ADHD-like symptoms).

The researchers concluded after the study that cycling is highly beneficial for children with ADHD, improving attention, mood, processing of information, emotional intelligence and cognitive performance. Even more impressive is that cycling to school isn’t a chore for kids – 87% of the subjects continued with the cycling programme once the study had ended.

A healthier, happier childhood

Cycling doesn’t need to be a skill kids learn and then tire of – it can become a daily way of life and lead to a better functioning body and mind, and a happier, healthier childhood.

Whatever your children’s move, help them move more. Enter your child now into the Discovery 947 Ride Joburg, Kids Ride at www.947ridejoburg.co.za.

Join Team Vitality and enjoy a VIP club experience at races

Join Team Vitality and get 50% cash back on entry fees for selected events. You will also receive a Team Vitality starter pack with premium kit worth R1 000 and more! Get EXCLUSIVE access to our VIP hospitality at certain events on the Team Vitality race calendar, simply by wearing your Team Vitality kit at these events. Sign up here.

Related articles

 
 
 
 
 
 

Want to move more? Try a 40km #RideJoburg experience. Yes, you!

Think cycling is a niche sport? People of all ages and fitness levels can do it – and gain the many health benefits, says sports scientist, Kathy McQuaide-Little. Here’s why you should give cycling a go in time for this year’s Discovery 947 Ride Joburg.

 
 
 
 
 
 

How mountain biking can boost your memory

Are you back to the daily grind and feeling the need to up your game? Perhaps a memory upgrade would help! Studies show that your working memory – which helps you understand things and remember better – can be improved through dynamic exercises.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Parents assemble! How super parents can raise super kids

Why it’s important to be healthy role models for your kids – and how YOU can get started.

Log in

Please click here to login into Discovery Digital Id

Please click here to login into Discovery Digital Id