Why bicycling might keep your kid’s mental health in high gear

The science behind why riding a bike might boost mental well-being, plus 7 ideas to get children pedaling.

Shannon Brescher Shea’s nine-year-old struggled with focus and following directions at home and at school. But after riding his bike—whether around the park or to school—he felt calmer.

“We called it moving meditation,” says Shea, who is a family biking advocate and author in Maryland. “We saw how incredibly helpful it was for his focus, emotional regulation, and ability to follow directions.”

Shea’s experience isn’t unique. Science has repeatedly proven that physical activity contributes to improved mental health. “Exercise, no matter your age, is the single best thing you can do for every organ in your body, including your brain,” says Allan Reiss, a psychiatry and pediatrics professor and director of the Division of Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Read This Next

Don’t let your stress derail your kids’ eating habits
Outdoor fun + mindfulness = mental health boosts for kids
10 ways to boost the benefits of sunlight for kids