Preparing to bike as a family this summer? Biking is a fun, eco-friendly way for all ages to experience the outdoors. Whether your family lives in an urban area, a suburb or rural community, biking can be done anywhere, and is a great way for kids to learn their way around their neighborhood or local park. Familiarize yourself with the benefits of biking and brush up on your safety by considering these four things.
Biking may improve your health.
While kids likely won't think much about the health benefits of biking, parents can feel good knowing that biking is one of the healthiest activities their children can partake in. Biking improves muscle tone and function, and not just in the legs. Arm muscles are worked simply by being kept in a continuous upright position as they grip the handlebars. Core muscles, such as abdominal muscles and those in the lower back, get a workout from maintaining a bike's balance. It's the kind of workout that's easy to overlook, but may well be felt after a long ride is over.
Biking also helps to improve cardiovascular health, a point that should be of particular interest to parents. A 2016 study found that people who biked regularly lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by nearly thirty percent. Improved heart health also means an improvement in overall endurance--something that just about every parent could use more of.
Biking also functions as an excellent form of stress relief. In 2008, a team of German scientists found that prolonged exercise, such as running, causes the brain to release "feel good" hormones, which result in the famous "runner's high," or feelings of deep stress relief and satisfaction after workouts. Biking can produce these same kinds of hormones. Because stress impacts both kids and adults, biking may help improve the mental health of the entire family.