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Six Reasons to Get Your Kids off the Couch and on a Bicycle
6 Reasons to Get Your Kids off the Couch and on the Bike
- It’s a Fun Way to Get Fit
As I’m sure you know it’s much easier to get your kids to do something if it's fun, and doesn’t look like a chore. With cycling you have a choice to ride hard for a workout or take it easy, relax, and enjoy your surroundings. There’s something about propelling yourself with only the power of your body on your Bicycle. Many times when taking my kids for a ride we would stop at a playground or walk down to the creek and let them explore, that sometimes lasted longer than the ride.
- Brain Development and Better Behavior
Studies show that physical activity can help children pay attention in school, improves cognitive performance, and academic achievement. Studies have also linked the increase in blood flow during physical activity to brain development. Physical activity also helps youngsters with coping and self control which helps kids stay focused, be less disruptive, reduce anxiety, and handle stress better. (It works for adults as well)
- Physical Development
Motor skills and sensory development gives your child a strong foundation for proper development. The connection between body and machine, balance, steering, speed, braking reaction times and spatial awareness, will help them for their entire life. They will develop physical coordination, balance, muscle, bone strength, develop the cardiovascular system and build stamina.
- Heart Health
Cycling can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Children who pedal regularly strengthen their heart, and lower their resting pulse and reduce blood fat levels. The body needs regular activity to keep the heart strong and healthy, and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Social Skills
When a child learns how to ride a bike, they gain confidence in themselves. A more confident kid is more likely to be interested in interacting with other kids and excited to go ride bikes together. For many kids today, exercising and playing outside is not as simple as it once was. Kids are more likely to play on their phone or play video games. Introducing them to biking will get them outside and open them up to a whole new world to be explored with family and friends.
- Promotes a Happy and Confident Kid
As we’ve said before, cycling pumps blood around your body at a greater rate which allows for the rapid spread of endorphins and other good hormones like dopamine (movement, memory and pleasurable reward and motivation), norepinephrine (helps break down fat and increase blood sugar to provide more energy to your body) and serotonin (mood, sleep, digestion, wound healing, bone health and blood clotting). This is what helps promote positive mental health. Recent studies show that stress levels in children have been increasing over the past decades due to the more complex world we now live in and the pressure to compete with others' success. A bicycle ride outside can help them recharge, and give them a sense of well being and the ability to handle stress better. Physical activity aids children to become more aware of his or her body, and feel less intimidated by their surroundings and peers. Hopefully this will give them a boost of confidence they need to take on new activities and difficult tasks.