By now, we all know how important cycling is in improving physical and mental health. Since cycling with kids it is a highly social activity, it has a boosting effect on psychological health as well. Apart from running over challenging terrain, the mere act of pedaling and balancing yourself on two wheels is enough physical exertion by itself. The sheer amount of focus you deliver when climbing to steep precipices trains your brain for other equally exhausting thought challenges. And then you reward yourself with the view of a mountain range, or of the blue-red gradient that bleeds through the sky at dawn, signifying the start of a new day.
Cycling helps you become a well-rounded person, which means you should start learning it during childhood. According to the Association for Applied Sports Psychology, it is important to implement a healthy lifestyle as early as your children can manage it. Incorporating fun physical activities into your daily routine and involving your kids in them can give them motivation and a sense of belongingness with you.
Developing the habit of cycling with kids has long-term advantages. It goes both ways – it benefits the parents and the children. Shaping a happy environment where your kids can learn new things and share them with you will help them grow mentally healthy.
Riding together toward a healthier future
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of cycling with kids is the assurance that they will carry the habit of exercising with them even when they learn to live independently. Cycling improves your stamina, aerobic fitness, and even strength. It is inclusive of all age groups: kids and adults alike enjoy it! The best part is that you can be healthy together.
One misconception about kids is that, with their level of life experience and the limited interaction they have with the outside world, they do not experience as much stress. Childhood stress can lead to negative lifelong effects that may impact future behavior and relationships. Since kids just love to laze around in front of the television, cycling can get them off the couch and help them release happy hormones.
As a parent, this is your chance to show off how good a role model you can be! There will always be that little part of you that wants the kids to grow up mirroring your best qualities. Riding with your kids helps them gain a deep interest in the sport and even teaches them cycling manners like putting up arm signals.
It is good for the environment.
Let’s face it, our Earth becomes more and more suffocated by the day. Human activity generates more waste as the population continues to shoot up. The least we can do is lessen that effect. Cycling with your kids doesn’t only make for an environmentally-friendly exercise, it also provides them with an alternative means of traveling to and from school.
It improves performance in school.
According to a study conducted by Niels Egelund of Aarhus University (Denmark), if a kid exercises before going to school – that is, rides a bike – his or her ability to concentrate “increases to the equivalent of someone half a year further in their studies.” While the cognitive influences of movement and traveling have not been fully explained yet, Egelund believes that we absorb information mentally and through movement. When we move, our bodies go through changes that consequently improve our mental performance.
It may be improved blood circulation or just a general sense of revitalization but, either way, early morning exercise like cycling with kids is a great way to kickstart your precious angel’s day in school. You may think that driving your kid is more efficient and that you don’t want to wear them down before they reach the campus, but the habit of cycling with kids will vastly improve your kid’s quality of life in the long run.
It teaches them the importance of community.
Cyclists are fond of engaging with all sorts of people. With that comes a strong sense of community that perpetuates the sport, allowing the community to grow into a family that has members from all around the globe. Regardless of your kid’s level of extroversion, teaching him or her early on how crucial it is to network and maintain good relationships with people instills empathy and the ability to love people from all walks of life.
Aside from that, the “community” can also be the neighborhood you ride in. It gives kids a new perspective. You can ask some neighbors to cycle together so your kids can get to know them better and even gain new friends! If you’re feeling adventurous, you can ask your kids to choose the route for you. This gives them a feeling of accomplishment.
More fun and laughter!
For many adults, even non-parents, kids are the ultimate source of joy. They make cute mistakes and do funny little antics that make you laugh. Their curiosities about their surroundings are entertainment enough. While you need to be very careful and patient around them, the extra effort is compensated by hours of fun and laughter.
It is important to develop hobbies with your kids from early childhood. If you have mastered all routes around your neighborhood, take it up a notch by driving to the outback (but make sure that the trail is safe!) and enjoy a night or two in nature’s company. Happy biking!