All exercise for children is important, both for their physical and mental health and cycling is a great way for your children to get out in the fresh air, whilst burning calories.
A study conducted in Glasgow called Play on Pedals, aimed to give every preschool child in Glasgow the opportunity to learn to ride a bike before starting school. The project found that the bonus of cycling supported learning at school, increased school engagement and built links within the community. Cycling has so many positive effects - so it’s time to get involved. It’s great for the physical and mental health of our children and here is why.
This is a straightforward answer really, cycling is fun in comparison to plenty of other exercises so children are more likely to get involved. Their fitness levels are likely to increase once they’ve started riding. For the littlest riders, cycling will improve motor skills, balance, strength and coordination. Cycling is also a slow start into a healthy active lifestyle, that children will hopefully then continue into their adult lives.
Older children may find school and everyday life stressful, so cycling gives them the opportunity to get out and about, ride in the fresh air. As part of the Play on Pedals project, participants found their confidence had increased, as well as self-esteem and a sense of achievement.
Cycling at weekends gives children the opportunity to spend time with family. When you teach your little ones to ride it’s a great bonding experience as your child has to trust you with teaching them safely. Plus the more they cycle with older family members they’ll bond further as they learn new skills. It’s a great opportunity to spend some quality time together.
The Play on Pedals project also found to have a positive effect on children with behavioural issues, as it was providing a structured outdoors activity. Hopefully causing them to improve their behaviour overtime at home and in the classroom, this can then lead to further self-confidence and social skills, making more peers at school too.
The project revealed an increase in focus, concentration, listening and perseverance. It also noted resilience in children and working together as a group. With this increase, children are likely to perform better in school, pushing them further in their education.
A nice benefit of the kids being active and challenging their mental health is them becoming sleepy. By getting into cycling, it’s highly likely they will sleep better and maybe a little earlier in evening. Meaning they can be back on their bike the next day with all the new energy from exercising!