Oct 10 , 2022
Fitness aside, science has recently discovered that whilst any exercise also helps improve a child’s academic performance and mental wellbeing, cycling in particular can boost it even further. Let’s look at the benefits and the evidence to back it up…
Cognitive function is the ability to assess your environment and react accordingly. It requires the mental abilities of reasoning, spatial awareness, problem solving, remembering and more. Although scientists are still working on exactly how cycling is better than other forms of exercise in boosting cognitive function, they do think it’s because whilst on a bike you have to coordinate all the parts of the body at the same time as balancing, and working out how hard and when to brake, how much room you have to pass an obstacle and judging the distance of other vehicles, whether moving or stationary.
According to Esther Walker, research program manager at Outride, “Research suggests that physical activity like cycling likely encourages new cell growth in areas of the brain linked to memory and problem solving, and can support stronger connections between neurones, ultimately impacting memory and learning.”
There is ongoing research by a team of psychiatrists and paediatric professors that looks at the brain during cycling. Most current research looks at comparative data before and after activity.
They’re hoping to see which areas of the brain are active during low and medium intensity cycling to help figure out how exercise influences the way we think, feel, and behave. The team are interested to learn how Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), might be positively impacted and how children with the disorder may be able to achieve better attention and reduced distractibility at school.
That’s the science backed benefits to cycling and your child’s mental wellbeing, but there are other benefits that will continue to impact on their school and social lives…
As children learn to ride, they learn that certain actions have consequences. For example, turning the handlebar too sharply may result in a fall, braking too quickly on the front wheel may result in going over the top and so on. Thanks to cognitive function they learn that these actions are to be avoided.
As passengers on the front of your bike, they will experience the ride with you and watch how you avoid and deal with risky situations.
As they grow older and take their cycling proficiency tests at school, or Bikeability course, they learn first-hand about the risk of sharing the road with other vehicles, and how to mitigate them.
As children grow and develop, they will undoubtedly have moments of low self-esteem. In fact, from as young as just six years of age, a child may begin to compare themselves to others. Giving a little bit of independence, when they are in charge of their bicycle, getting to school on time and getting home safely boosts self-confidence through achieving success.
Learning the skills to ride such as balance, coordination, core strength, spatial awareness and a certain etiquette, from an early age gives your child a head start in self-esteem and a welcome retreat to a place where they are happily occupied in cycling.
Wellbeing for life
Starting your children with cycling at a young age will give them immeasurable benefits to their wellbeing that will last a lifetime. If you’re a cyclist, you’ll already know how it benefits your health, fuel bill, social life and environment! Now, we think that’s a lasting legacy…Start them from around 18 months with the Feva Star Seat, before moving on to their own balance bike or pedal bike. You may be interested in the blog, ‘What age can my child start riding?’. Or order your Feva today.