Children who walk or cycle to school have a lower risk of obesity than those shuttled to and from by car. I think most would accept that as common sense. But did you know that driving your children to school could also cause their academic work to suffer!
Impact of exercise so big it could advance a student up to half a year in their studies
Researchers at two Danish universities, found children who were driven to school, or who took public transport, had poorer concentration levels than those who took a more active route such as walking or cycling.
Marjorie Woollacott, Ph.D., a professor of human physiology states, “Balance is a pillar beneath every skill we have.” Balance plays a larger role in the overall development of our children than we realize. Reading difficulties can occur and learning development will be delayed when balance and other systems are out of sync.
I will try to take all the scientific verbage and boil it down to my type of language. There are three parts to physical balance; eyes, body, and ears. Babies are born with the inner ear balance. As they become toddlers they engage the visual and begin to develop the bodily strength to increase their sense of balance. All of these systems must work together to form balance. For a baby and toddler that is in prime developmental stages it takes a lot of brain power to bring all three together. That same brain power and the same systems are required for all of the learning they will do. The more balance is practiced and perfected it becomes second nature. Less of that brain power is needed to focus on physical balance, and more of the brain can be devoted to learning.
Research done with the STRIDER balance bike
The study was conducted over a four-week period with three to five-year-old children and concluded that participants benefited from using a STRIDER balance bike by improving their balance and functional fitness, while likely reducing future injuries during their daily routines.
The data analysis showed a "significant improvement" in the Limit of Stability scores (the subject's ability to lean in different directions without a loss of balance) for the experimental group after four weeks of targeted training with the STRIDER balance bike. The study concluded that society could benefit from the knowledge that pedal-less bicycles are a tool for improving stability in three to five-year-old children and are possibly a safer alternative to using training wheels for bicycle riding acclimatization.
"This scientific proof is truly groundbreaking for us at Strider Sports," says Ryan McFarland, Founder and CEO of Strider Sports International, Inc. "We have witnessed thousands of anecdotal instances of children learning balance and coordination after using a STRIDER bike. Now the empirical evidence has been gathered and supports what we have seen for years – the STRIDER bike significantly improves a child's gross motor skill development as it relates to balance. This, in turn, lets toddlers and young children enjoy life on two wheels like never before!"
"We think the results of this study are fascinating," says Dr. Andrew Shim, Department Chair of the University of South Dakota Division of Kinesiology and Sport Science. "According to our data collected from the study, the STRIDER balance bike product really does increase balance in 3-5 year old riders. Ultimately, this increase in balance may eliminate the need for stabilsers and tricycles."
So, now is the time!
It is our parental duty to get kids out on those bikes having fun, and we can all rest assured we are helping our toddlers prepare for a life of learning in school!