Kids need at least 60 minutes of physical exercise every day for strong bones and muscles, high levels of self-esteem, and overall good health, according to a report by the CDC. Unfortunately, most kids have not been getting enough exercise over the past six months as a result of the lockdown in Birmingham. With school, sports and playtime ruled out, many kids have been spending their days at home sitting in front of screens and grabbing a snack every now and then. According to experts, this type of sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous over time to both the mental and physical health of your child. To prevent this, one of the best activities you can introduce to your child is cycling. Riding a bike is a fun way to get a full-body workout and under the current circumstances, it’s also the safest way to explore the great outdoors in Birmingham. Here’s how to get started.
Choosing your bikes
If you want your cycling adventures to be fun and incident-free, each member of your family must have the right bike. When choosing a bike for your child, the first thing you need to pay close attention to is the size of it. A bike whose size doesn’t suit your child will be uncomfortable and hard to control, increasing the risk of an accident. Ideally, your child should be able to stand over the bike comfortably with both legs on the ground and the bike frame between them. There should also be an inch of clearance between your child and their bike’s frame to make it easier for them to get on and off. Another thing to consider is where you’ll be going cycling; for example, if you are going to a trail with lots of uphill sections, you’re better off bringing mountain bikes.
Picking a cycling location
Birmingham has a lot of roads, paths, parks, and trails where you and your kids can go cycling, but not all of them are right for you especially when you have young kids. You want a place where the only thing you’ll have to worry about is cycling, which means avoiding public roads and heading to one of the many child-friendly bike trails in Birmingham such as the High Ore Line Trail, Horsecreek Trail, or Vulcan Trail. But, if you must use public roads, make sure that your child understands and follows all Birmingham cycling laws including staying on the right side of the road, obeying all traffic signs, and signaling turns.
Packing for your cycling trip
To keep your child safe and happy throughout the trip, there are various items you’ll need to bring with you. First of all, helmets; Birmingham laws require all children below 16 years of age to wear helmets when cycling to prevent serious head injuries should they get into an accident. A few snacks and water bottles can also come in handy especially if you are cycling in places where there are no shops nearby.
Whether you are a Birmingham resident or a visitor, cycling with your kids is one of the best ways to get a full-body workout. On top of that, it allows you to explore some of the roads less traveled where you can find solace and respite during these trying times.