Recent studies and media buzz has largely surrounded the necessity to boost the level of physical activity for children throughout the country. In the United States, childhood obesity has more than doubled in the last 30 years according to research from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Programs such as “Let’s Move” have sprung up rapidly to encourage children across the country to exercise more frequently. But what if regular exercise did more than simply keep children in good physical health?
Researchers connected to Harvard professor, John Ratey, have conducted a research study over the last several weeks to determine any associations between riding, behavior, and brain function. More specifically, the study serves to gain a better understanding of how cycling affects students with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). The National Institute of Mental Health suggests that 3 to 5 percent of children in the U.S. suffer from ADHD.
Wilson Middle School participated in this study as eighth-grade teacher, Mike Hill, led his 18 students in morning bicycle rides on red specialized mountain bikes. The children took part in the four-week program as the researchers carefully studied any associations between bicycle riding and cognitive behaviors through a variety of studies. The students were all given cognitive functioning tests prior to the program to compare any changes that took place during the four-week bicycle riding experiment.
While the final results of the study are still being calculated and tested, there seems to be a clear connection between bicycle riding and a boost in brain power. Children who participated in this research study were not only more energized and balanced, but were actually having fun. As such, attendance numbers skyrocketed. As more and more information becomes readily available, it is clear that bicycle riding and physical activity is imperative for the cognitive development of children.