Monday, January 23, 2017

Does Bicycling Lessen Behaviour Issues In Children In School?

We live in a world of tension, stress and conflict. Nowhere is this seen more readily than in our schools. The number of students with behavioural disorders is increasing daily. This creates less teaching in the classroom and more focus on solving behaviour issues.

What if there was something to ease the behaviour issues?

A Harvard University Study by April Bowling, James Slavet, Daniel P. Miller, Sebastien Haneuse, William Beardslee, and Kirsten Davison suggests that quality cycling by children with ADHD and other behavioural disorders will help them to be less disruptive in the classroom.  
had students with behavioural issues riding stationary bikes for 7 weeks during their gym classes, twice a week for 30 to 40 minutes.  

Their classroom behaviour was tracked during the process.

The study discovered that students were up to 51% lower in exhibiting behavioural issues and time out of classroom. On days when they were being exercised the odds of disruptive levels of behavior declined between 71% and 76% , while on non testing days these numbers dropped. On days when they were engaged in riding they were participating more in class and completing assignments.

What does this mean?

We live in a sedentary society. We drive our children to school. At home they watch tv, surf the internet, play video games, and use social media among other things. They don’t get the exercise they need to grow. Children with behavioral health disorders (BHD) demonstrate low participation in aerobic exercise. Studies demonstrate that the more children move there is an increase in brain power.  Cycling increases blood flow to the brain resulting in a more oxygenated brain that is able to function with greater efficiency. This allows the child to focus more on tasks which leads to a decrease in behavioural problems.

It is well known that bicycling has many benefits. The high energy workout burns calories, increases quality sleep, increases brain power, relieves stress and is environmentally friendly. It also helps lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of acquiring heart disease and diabetes.

The question might be asked, “What about gym classes? They are exercising during the day.” Unfortunately, gym classes do not deal in the kind of exercise children need to increase their brain power. With a focus more on acquiring skills than developing more muscle mass and increasing oxygen intake they cannot ever help students with behavioural issues. There needs to be more rigorous exercise. In the end that will benefit, not just students with behaviour issues but all students. Let’s increase that Brain Power.