This Christmas season there are an endless number of options when it comes to gifts for children. Trinkets and toys and video games galore practically jump off the shelves at eager parents who want to give their kids a Christmas morning to remember. Memorable moments, after all, are what the holidays are all about! Keeping that in mind, think back to when you were a child and some of the most memorable gifts your parents gave to you. For many people a bright, shiny bicycle is the very first thing that comes to mind.
Kids today are not so different. Yes they all have iPhones and somehow know how to use them better than us adults, but the thrill of a bicycle ride is still universal. Riding a two-wheeler for the first time is still a right of passage. In the day and age of less recess and more TV it is necessary to give children gifts that stimulate them mentally and challenge them physically to keep them healthy and active as they grow into teens and adults. Biking is like candy- flavored broccoli: it’s so deliciously fun that kids of all ages won’t even notice how good it is for them! Consider this…
- Girls who walk or bike to school perform better on tests.1
- Physically fit elementary and middle school students have better math and reading scores than their less- active peers.2
- Overweight adolescents who participate in biking 3 to 4 days per week are 85% more likely to become healthy-weight adults.3 A gift of a bicycle is a promise of exciting activity that gives back for a lifetime. Spanish cyclist Alejandro “El Imbatido” Valverde (nicknamed for his 50-victory winning streak between the age of 11 to 14 and currently ranked #1 in the world) received his first bicycle at the tender age of six from his father. Your little ones may not grow up to be world champions – or maybe they will – but they’ll certainly benefit from the freedom and physical activity that they get with their new set of wheels. For a guide to choosing the right bike for your child’s stage of development download the Silicon Valley Bikes app and visit the “Families” section. Happy trails.
My City Bikes is the national public health campaign for beginner cyclists to benefit communities across the United States by providing a simple mobile resource to inspire and facilitate cycling. Whether for fun, fitness or transportation, My City Bikes is a definitive guide to cycling opportunities in communities nation-wide. My City Bikes along with its network of beginner- friendly bike shops and local municipal governments are bringing beginner biking resources to home towns across the United States to empower individuals to improve their health by simply pedaling a bike. Visit http://mycitybikes.org.
1 Martinez-Gomez, D., et al., 2010 – Active commuting to school and positive cognitive performance in adolescents: The AVENA study, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
2 New York City Department of Health, 2009 – in “Study shows obese children perform poorer than fit children in school,” Y. Gonan, New York Post, July 14, 2009
3 Menschik, D., et al., 2008 – Adolescent physical activities as predictors of young adult weight, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 162, 23-28
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