Learning To Cycle Young Gives You A Lifelong Advantage
You must have heard about the incredible health benefits of cycling. Honestly, the list is almost endless!
Cycling offers unique health benefits beyond most other types of physical activity. It improves muscular strength and physical endurance, lowers cholesterol, and contributes to mental health and well-being.
Should it be enough to motivate you to pick up your bicycle again?
The best part is cycling benefits people of all ages. There is a significant difference, however, in the impact it can make at different ages.
Read on to find out why teaching your child how to cycle before the age of 6 is worth the effort.
Early Childhood Development
The first few years of an infant’s life are crucial for their later development. Although specific skills may be taught later, the groundwork for all of these is laid within early childhood, particularly the first 5 years of life. During this period of their life, their brains develop connections faster than at any other.
Numerous studies have shown that this early spurt is linked to long-term social, cognitive, emotional, and physical development. Every parent should consider investing heavily in this period, from before birth until they transition to primary school. Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child suggests that this development is directly linked to “educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, (and) strong communities”.
Long story short: even a small early investment in children translates to major lifelong benefits.
Specific Benefits of Cycling for Young Children
As you can tell, cycling isn’t just about having fun–that’s just the cherry on top. It consistently fuels athletic development, muscle building, and growth. There is even some evidence to suggest cycling before the age of 18 can increase height.
Aside from the physical benefits, cycling is also great for a child’s mental health and development. Since their brains are growing at a rapid pace, they learn new skills more easily and effectively. Cycling also happens to be one of those rarer activities that exercise both sides of the brain to achieve coordination and balance. Those who develop this ability to balance early on tend to have better posture, less risk of musculoskeletal issues, and fewer falls as older adults.
The science has never been more evident. In fact, a study from Specialized Bicycles found that when middle-school students with ADHD rode their bikes five days per week before school for 30 minutes, their brains showed faster information processing and positive changes in activation patterns. This led to an increase in positive moods, attention, improved fitness, as well as acute and longer-term benefits in cognition. Even after just one bike ride, students with ADHD were less impulsive and made fewer mistakes on attention-related tasks.
As children grow older, those who’ve already learned cycling can greatly benefit from riding their bikes to school. Research shows that students who do so are more focused and ready to learn, compared with those who are driven.
Cycling Helps Development Throughout Childhood
A good habit is best learned early. Here’s why:
- Children who continue to cycle throughout their childhood, enter adulthood more likely to remain healthy. This is because it is a great exercise for the large muscles in the legs, which increases heart rate, and thereby accelerates stamina. By exercising the cardiovascular muscles regularly, cycling keeps your child’s weight healthy too. The long list of other health benefits includes increasing longevity, lowering blood pressure, strengthening the heart, and reducing the risk of obesity, cardiovascular events, type-2 diabetes, and hypertension later in life.
- Later on in childhood, children gain a sense of accomplishment and confidence through being able to cycle, as it opens them up to their first taste of freedom, autonomy, and independence. This becomes a gateway to being curious, adventurous, and active.
- Cycling also helps children feel more spatially connected to where they live. Constantly moving from place to place by car affects children’s understanding of the world around them. Growing up in a generation stuck in traffic all the time can heighten the sense of loneliness. Kids who substitute time spent in cars with cycling are more connected with their world, with a better understanding of geography and directions, as well as more exposure to fresh air and sunlight.
Cycling also helps build social bonds. At a time when children’s screen time is steadily rising, cycling can be a welcome break that provides space for bonding with friends and family.
How Can You Give Your Child This Early Advantage?
Cycling isn’t just wheels turning. It’s about the gears of growth, confidence, and a deep connection with the real world. Its positive impacts stretch from building muscles and enhancing cardiovascular fitness to improving mental well-being and cognitive functions.
Pedal Yard gives your children a promising head start to a healthy and happy future by helping them learn how to ride a bike, right from the ages of 2 to 6. Whether online or at our physical locations, the PedalYard™ Step by Step Method is a comprehensive solution that allows children and caregivers to learn safely and at their own speed.
You’re always welcome to visit any of our physical locations, or call 1-833-KID-BIKE (543-2453) today to find out more!