Bonding with your kids outdoors is a great way to promote health and wellness. With the digital age, many younger generations are contended playing video games or socializing through Facebook and other social media platforms.
So, how does a smart dad encouraged his children to get fit and healthy beyond using gadgets?
One of the best ways to keep your children away from screens is biking. Biking hones muscle development and fine motor skills. Also, it provides children freedom. It boosts confidence and creates beautiful memories. For school-age children, ages seven to 11 years old, a 24-inch mountain bike is highly recommended.
In this post, you’ll learn more about the benefits of buying your children a 24-inch mountain bike, which will serve as your shopping guide to make an informed purchasing decision.
According to ICEBike.org, having the right kids bike size is not just a matter of comfort but it can prevent injury both short and long term, and allows you to have a much better riding experience as a result.
Benefits of Full-sized Mountain Bikes
As this blog post explains, the best mountain bikes for school-aged children is a 24-inch mountain bike. In terms of transmission, braking, and frame design, 24-inch mountain bikes offer the benefits of full-sized bikes, except that the frame geometry of a 24-inch mountain bike has been optimized on a 24-inch wheel.
Here are the features and benefits of 24-inch mountain bikes:
- One of the additions in the 24-inch wheel category is road bikes with drop handlebars that is similar to an adult road bike except that kids’ road bikes have shorter cranks. Also, they have a lower reach on the bike’s brake hoods, making them more controllable and comfortable.
- One of the features of 24-inch mountain bikes is a front suspension, facilitating greater exploration.
- A 24-inch mountain bike has more gears. In this way, your child will be able to handle steeper inclines and rapid descents.
- When it comes to suspension, 24-inch mountain bikes have more significant suspension movement as compared to 20-inch mountain bikes.
- A 24-inch road bike increases its gear, ranging up to 21 and 24-speed. It also features lightweight frames and slick tires for faster speeds. It also features either rim or disc brakes manually operated by hand.
Health Benefits of Buying 24 Inch Mountain Bike
Cycling provides tons of health benefits, including physical and mental health benefits. That’s why buying your child a 24-inch mountain bike is an excellent way to promote a healthy lifestyle that can be adopted until adulthood.
Physical Health Benefits
Cycling is healthy for both children and adults. It’s a low-impact and healthy form of exercise. This fun-filled activity helps strengthen the bones and muscles. Also, it enhances your child’s motor skills.
Here are the health benefits of biking using a 24-inch mountain bike:
Strengthens Leg Muscles
Cycling works and tones many muscles in a child’s body. The primary muscles that are targeted are the lower body muscles — also, the arm muscles and the core experience a great workout. Because 24-inch mountain bikes are specifically designed for children ages seven to 11 years old, the built, size, and design helps strengthen their leg muscles.
Here are the different muscle groups that are exercised, used, toned, and targeted when cycling:
- Calf Muscles: The soleus muscle helps to lift the heel while the gastrocnemius is the most prominent part of the calf muscle, allowing riders to go and freely cycle.
- Thigh Muscles: The hamstrings give your child’s knee the ability to pump pedals as it is used in bending the knees. Quadriceps heavily works during cycling, which is essential to remaining steady and strong while biking.
- Gluteal or Buttock Muscles: The gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius work together during cycling, and the most prominent is the gluteus maximus. These muscles keep your child’s hips so his thighs can rotate during any body motion. Biking gives the buttock muscles a unique tone with improved strength.
- Arm and Shoulder Muscles: The muscles that make up the arm include the biceps and triceps. Deltoids make up the shoulder muscles. While cycling, your child changes positions, such as leaning forward or even standing to perform tricks. That’s why upper body support is required to sustain such movements. The shifting of body movements places pressure on the upper body, which helps in toning and strengthening the arm and shoulder muscles.
- Foot Muscles: As your child pedals, his foot muscles are exercised, namely the dorsiflexors and plantar flexors of the feet.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Bicycling accelerates the body’s stamina, exercising the heart muscles. Teaching your children how to ride a bike and making it their hobby will do wonders for their cardiovascular health as they grow older.
With a sedentary lifestyle, most people have today, there’s a high risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
More so if you have a family history of heart disease. Regular cycling helps in stimulating and improving the heart, lungs, and blood circulation. Cycling lowers the resting pulse, strengthens the heart muscles, and reduces the levels of blood fat or cholesterol.
Attain Ideal Weight
Because biking is a cardio workout, it also helps shed off extra pounds to help your child attain his ideal body weight. Long rides help burn a lot of fat, giving your child a good endurance base.
Even 30 minutes of biking can help your child lose weight, most especially when cycling on ascending paths.
Builds Muscle Mass
Because muscles are leaner than fats, your children have a higher percentage of burning more calories. Cycling strengthens the entire body, building and strengthening muscles gradually and steadily.
This fun activity builds muscle, most especially around the hamstrings, calves, glutes, and quads.
Mental Health Benefits
When you teach your children how to ride a bike, you also teach them how to find the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety. Cycling is a fun and healthy activity that is not only good for your body but also for your mind.
Here are the psychological health benefits of biking:
Children also get stressed in school. The best person who can understand this feeling is you because you’ve been there. And one of the most excellent stress busters in cycling.
Homeworks and school projects can be mentally exhausting. A bicycle ride helps children recharge their energy.
Kids can bike to release their stress and become happier because it increases serotonin production or happy hormones. Indeed, cycling is a more positive way to cope with everyday stress.
Promotes Emotional Wellness
Cycling enhances the self-confidence of children because they start to move out independently.
As they become aware of their body and their surroundings, they feel more responsible. Biking helps them discover the world around them, so they’ll get more accustomed to the environment.
Because children enjoy bike rides, they make wonderful memories, making them more happy and optimistic, thus promoting emotional wellness.
Helps Prevent Mental Illness
Keeping the body active also stimulates the mind to become more positive.
With physical activity, serotonin levels increase. Serotonin is otherwise known as “feel-good” or “happy hormone.” It provides a sense of happiness or a positive mood, which helps prevent anxiety, depression, and mental illness.
When a person is always sedentary, as a child always playing video games or watching television all day long, the body tends to shut off. And when it does, the mind becomes more receptive to negative thoughts.
That’s why bicycle rides help children stay active and mentally healthy.
Enhances Socialization Skills
Socialization is usually online nowadays. Why not teach your children how you were taught when you were a child without computers or gadgets yet? With cycling, you’ll help your children get along and socialize with other people in the neighborhood.
Here’s how bicycling can help enhance the socialization skills of your children:
- Cycling enhances the communication skills of your children as they can verbally express their excitement and ideas riding and doing tricks on a bike ride adventure.
- By teaching safety measures when biking, you also teach your child how to learn to follow instructions and become more disciplined and responsible for personal safety, other people’s safety, and so as the properties around.
- Cycling allows your children to make new friends, share secrets, and share their views. Also, they can discuss their own problems and have fun together with you and other kids.
Great Family Bonding Experience
While learning biking can be challenging, most people find the experience very rewarding, teaching children how to be independent. Eventually, cycling will be a favorite pastime and family bonding activity.
Here are some tips for bonding with your children through cycling:
- For newbies, teach your child how to safely ride a mountain bike. A parent-child bicycling tutorial will surely be unforgettable and very memorable.
- If your children have road racing ambitions, you may hold a biking contest to test their skills. Just make sure that everyone wears safety gear for protection.
- Bring your mountain bike on an out of town family trip so you can bike tour in new places, such as near the beach or natural landscape of the countryside.
Helpful Tips When Buying a Mountain Bike
When buying a 24-inch mountain bike for your child, you should buy one that fits well.
Children tend to handle bikes that are properly sized. Also, it’s a lot more fun and safer to ride. So, how do you choose the best bike for your child?
Here are some helpful tips when buying your kids a mountain bike:
- Look for a mountain bike with a comfortable grip. The handlebars should be reached with a slight elbow bend but without extending the arms fully.
- It’s important to consider your child’s height when buying a new bike. The stand-over height or the distance between the ground and the top tube should also be considered in sizing a child’s bike. Ensure enough clearance above the stand-over height of the bike.
- Straddling the bike with the feet flat on the floor is the best position. In that way, the crotch of the child doesn’t rest on the top tube for comfort and safety.
- Your child should be able to position himself and sit comfortably on the bike, so better check the seat height. His legs should be slightly bent when stroking the pedal.
Safety Tips for Children When Biking
As much as you like your children to stay healthy and active with biking, you also want to ensure their safety.
That’s why it’s important to teach your children about the importance of wearing safety gear and safe bicycle driving. Be strict reinforcing the rules for your child’s safety.
One of the safety measures before allowing your children to a bike is to wear a bike helmet. According to a trusted source, wearing properly-fitted helmets when biking can lower the risk of head injuries by 45 percent.
However, less than half of children, age 14 years old and below usually wear a bicycle helmet. So, you should always ask your children to wear properly-fitted bike helmets to prevent head injuries.
Here are other safety tips for children when biking:
- Advise your children to always ride in a straight line and never attempt to swerve between cars to avoid accidents.
- Let them wear bright colors or clothes with reflectors. Lights should be used when riding early in the morning and at night.
- Tell your children to always ride on the sidewalk or at least ride in the same traffic direction on the right-hand side.
- Advise them to follow the traffic rules and use hand signals to avoid accidents.
- Always ride with your kids until you’re comfortable seeing them ready to ride on their own. Remember that parental supervision is important at all times.
Buying your children a mountain bike is a great idea.
Not only that you help promote a healthy physical body, but cycling also promotes better psychological and mental well-being. Also, you teach your children to become more independent, boosting their self-confidence and discipline.
Like you, children feel the freedom and enjoyment that cycling provides.
They become more aware of what is happening around them, learn how to appreciate nature, and appreciate the good things in life has to offer. Teach your children how to bike and you’ll teach them how to be responsible and happy with simple and healthy outdoor activities.