Summer days are filled with fun outdoor activities that include biking! I remember riding my bicycle to visit friends, go to softball practice, and head to the local swimming pool. My bike was not only transportation for me – it made me happy.
Physical activity, like bike riding, is one of the best ways to boost your mood and manage your mental health! It lowers cortisol – the body’s stress hormone, and increases those feel-good hormones – endorphins! A daily bicycle ride can help manage depression, anxiety and improve your sleep.
As you dust off that bicycle seat and embark on your first summer bike ride, here are a few reminders from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- Wear a Bicycle Helmet – Everyone at every age should wear a properly fitting helmet.
- Check your Equipment – Ensure the tires are correctly inflated, and the brakes are working before taking a ride.
- Adjust your Bicycle to Fit – There should be 1 to 2 inches between the rider and the top bar if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if using a mountain bike. The seat should be level from front to back, and the height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be level with the seat.
- Go with the traffic – Ride on the right in the same direction as other vehicles – go with the flow, not against it!
- Stay alert at all times, watch for parked cars, look before turning, and use bike lanes or paths if possible
Help your child explore more about bikes with this 4-H Spark Activity, and have fun making memories on your bikes this summer!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Sloop is a 4-H Youth Development Specialist in Health and Wellness. She provides leadership to the 4-H youth development program focusing on 4-H clubs, 4-H groups, and youth education initiatives. Susan delivers researched based educational programs to youth and adult audiences geared towards healthy lifestyles, social-emotional learning, positive youth development, and workforce preparation.