Balance bikes are designed for toddlers and little kids to help them learn how to ride a bike safely and easily. These small bikes don’t have any pedals and are propelled along the ground using your child’s feet and true to their name, these bikes help your child to increase their balance.
There are however, a number of other benefits of balance bikes for your children, including making them smarter.
A balance bike increases coordination
Along with their balance, your child will learn how to coordinate their arms and legs to make their bike start, roll along the ground, turn corners, go up and down hills and come to a stop. Their upper and lower body strength is also increased, as well as their agility and fine motor skills. Children who have learnt to ride on a balance bike usually transition straight to regular two wheel pedal bikes without needing training wheels.
Since children can start using a balance bike much earlier than a pedal bike, they learn all of these skills at an earlier age, which helps them in many different aspects of their young lives. In fact, research has shown that improving balance and coordination helps children to focus and learn more effectively at school.
Balance improves cognitive function
A 2017 study has shown that people who perform balance exercises show a significant improvement in memory and spatial cognition, both of which are essential for an active and healthy lifestyle. This means that children who use the balance bike early in their formative years will benefit greatly from learning to balance with their feet, steer with their arms and to be aware of their surroundings (spatial cognition), improving their memory in the process.
Bike riding improves mental health
Riding a balance bike early in their lives, increases a child’s mental stimulation and their activity levels, both of which help to maintain good mental health. Mastering new skills, such as riding a bike improves their cognitive and motor skills, as well as their decision making abilities, confidence, sense of freedom, independence and their interpersonal and social skills.
Children who cycle to school also perform better in problem solving tasks that demand concentration compared to children who are driven to school. In general, active children are happier and more social children and learning to ride a balance bike is a big step towards enhancing your child’s mental health, something that will influence them throughout their lives.
Cycling later in life is good for the brain
When children learn to cycle at a young age they tend to continue riding throughout their lives, even if it is intermittently. This is great because aerobic exercise, like riding a bike, actually enlarges the parts of the brain that deals with cognitive and memory functions, increasing processing speeds in the brain and the clarity of your thoughts.
Essentially, aerobic exercise elevates your pulse rate, delivers more blood to your brain and enhances cognitive performance. Exercise actually releases a chemical called BNDF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) that creates new neurons in the brain. This is one reason why scientists claim that exercise can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, because the combination of increased vascularity and BNDF helps your brain to make new connections and keep you thinking clearly for longer!
Who would have thought that teaching your child to ride a balance bike could lead to improved cognitive functions both in school and right up into their old age? Clearly, balance bikes do make you smarter!