BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Kids love riding bikes, which makes it an ideal activity for keeping your child healthy.
“Riding bikes is a great way for kids to be healthy and independent,” said Bike Baton Rouge President Doug Moore. “A city that offers kids a way to get around without having to be carted around by their parents is a great city to be a kid... and a parent. It’s also a great way for families to get out and do something active together.”
With cooler days ahead, it’s the perfect time to get the whole family involved. Before you put rubber to the road, you should be mindful about the reduced daylight hours ahead and general safety guidelines.
“It’s important to have front and rear lights when riding at night,” Moore noted. “Children 12 and younger are required to have helmets and may bike on the sidewalk. But always remember to be looking out for people driving cars, just in case they’re not looking out for you.”
Louisiana law requires that bicyclists have a white light on the front and a red light on the back that is either flashing or solid. You must also have a red reflector on the rear of the bike and a reflectors on the side of the bicycle frames. Most bikes are sold with reflectors, but the lights are a different story.
Although lights are only legally required during night, research suggests that daytime lights are not a bad idea. In fact, the League of American Bicyclists conducted a study that shows 80 percent of all bicycling crashes happen during daylight hours.
The good news is, kids actually like lights!
Exercise is a good thing, we know this, but what are the real benefits?
Bicycling has been proven to be a heart healthy activity. A 2016 study in the journal Circulation found that people who bike regularly had about 15 percent fewer heart attacks than non-cyclists. And it didn’t take much to get those results - only about a half an hour of biking per week!
Part of the reason why it’s so great for your heart is because bicycling improves circulation, builds muscle, and increases stamina.
Weight management is also important, especially when it comes to childhood. According to the CDC, children ages 3 through 5 years should be active throughout the day and kids ages 6 through 17 years should be physically active at least 60 minutes each day.
Physical health is not the only check in the win column. Add mental heath, too. As Moore mentioned earlier, it’s a great way to build a child’s confidence and sense of independence. It’s also an important milestone in development and learning.
Whether you realize it or not, your kids get and feel stressed! Riding a bike is one of those great activities that lets kids be kids.
“Children need time to relax and be kids,” states Amy Przeworkski, Ph.D. in an article published by Psychology Today. “Unfortunately, sometimes even fun activities, like sports, can become more about success than they are about fun. Instead, it is important to ensure that your child engages in play purely for the sake of fun.”
Research used to write this article
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