Not only can cycling save time in the morning and be a convenient way of getting to school, research published by the American College of Sports Medicine suggests that children who cycle to school have higher levels of fitness and are overall more physically active than those who get there via other modes of transport.
The cardiovascular fitness and travel habits of 6,000 children from England, ages 10-16, were examined throughout 2007 to 2008 and some interesting findings emerged. Researchers found that boys and girls who walked to and from school were respectively twenty and thirty percent more likely to be fit than those who were driven. For children who cycled, they were respectively thirty and seventy percent more likely to be fit. Children who were driven had, by and large, the lowest levels of fitness compared to walkers, cyclers and even those who took the bus. Overall, children who cycled were found to be the most active during the entire course of the day.
In addition, the researchers found that the travel distance to school between children who cycled and those being driven was very similar, around 1.5 to 2 miles – a distance both easily cycled or walked.
These findings help support the stand that actively traveling to and from school can be an effective method of increasing the fitness levels of children and helping to build in daily physical activity. Cycling in particular, should be a travel mode to strongly consider, as it can save time, offer convenience and as stated already, provide excellent health benefits to children.