Riding a bike really seems to be the cure to all. When you want to ditch the morning coffee and supplements that will supposedly strengthen your daily focus, just hop on a bike to commute around town. Developing the routine of biking at a young age will help keep your brain active, sharp, and agile with each passing year.
With every pedal you take, you are fueling your mind by creating rich capillary beds within your brain. As your brain develops more and more blood vessels, you are able to get more oxygen and nutrients to help those thinking gears turn. But wait, it doesn’t stop there! Light and easy exercise, like biking, forces nerve cells to fire and create brain- derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and a protein called NOG which in turn creates new brain cells. These new and old brain cells are able to quickly communicate through the release of neurotransmitters initiated by exercise.
In a Danish study that surveyed 20,000 Danish students between the ages of 5 and 19, results found that kids who cycled to school accomplished concentration assignments with much more ease and exactitude than the kids who rode public transportation. With more exercise, the hippocampus can grow bigger and stronger. The hippocampus, your brain’s memory drive, performs better as it grows. A joint study executed by the University of Illinois and University of Pittsburgh found those who exercised regularly had bigger hippocampus and, therefore, had better performance on memory tests.
Not only are kids who bike to school developing healthy lifelong habits, but they have been proven to perform at the same level as peers up to a half year further in their studies. Exercising is the best way to retain cognitive function throughout life. The benefits of increased mental development bicycling gives to children will continue to grow through years of continued practice. What are you waiting for? Get those kiddos on a bike!