Parents of children living with disabilities: Take a minute to travel back in time to when you first learned to ride a bike. Feel the wind in your hair, your heart racing, and the exhilaration of experiencing freedom while pedaling down the street to your best friend’s house. Remember all of those adventures you went on thanks to your bike? If your child is a wheelchair user, you may have never considered the fact that bike riding is a possibility. But guess what? Your child can experience that joy with an adaptive bike and here are three compelling reasons why they should.
Beat Childhood Obesity and Reduce Risks of Other Health Conditions
Rates of children living with excess weight are continually rising in North America, and children with disabilities are even more susceptible to becoming part of the epidemic.
Lack of physical activity and exclusion from recreational play with peers are often contributing factors to accumulating extra body weight among child and adolescent wheelchair users. Being overweight early in life can lead to more serious complications that often carry over into adulthood, such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Getting your child physically active along with providing a nutritionally sound diet are two of the best ways to combat childhood obesity and lower risks of developing a host of other conditions.
Inclusion is Crucial to Developing Social Skills
Interacting with peers plays an essential role in the evolution of your child’s social skills.
Learning to see things from someone else’s perspective, working with others to find a solution to a problem, and dealing with differences of opinion are just some of the benefits that come in handy later in life. Bike riding in groups promotes the formation of friendships all the while exposing non-disabled kids to kids with disabilities and teaching them to embrace diversity and include everyone in social activities.
Emotional and Intellectual Well-Being
Think about how you felt the last time you set a goal and then finally achieved it after putting in the necessary work. It’s an incredible feeling, right? When a child with a physical disability learns to ride a bike, they experience that same sense of accomplishment that is often absent from their day-to-day. When children realize they have the ability to succeed, it sets a precedent for a lifetime of goal setting, limit-pushing, and persistence.
You will likely notice an immediate effect on your child the moment they ride a bike for the first time, but more importantly, the benefits of regular riding reach way behind today or tomorrow.
The habits we create as youth set us up for success or failure as adults.
Being physically active, having meaningful relationships, and possessing a desire to continually learn and improve oneself are all signs of a well-adjusted adult. Something as simple as getting an adaptive bike for your child can encourage them to take on the challenges they will inevitably be faced with and seek out a fulfilling life.
Freedom Concepts designs mobility equipment for children of all abilities. With the help of your therapist, they will customize a bicycle or hand cycle to fit your child’s precise needs.
“Cycling provides so many physical and psychological benefits. It offers the advancement of motor skills, strengthens one’s core muscles, develops confidence, and offers independence. We accept any challenge through customization. At the end of the day, we want to see everyone out riding, no matter what the circumstance!” –Evan Paterson, Marketing Supervisor, Freedom Concepts Inc.
Betsy Bailey has a diverse background including experience in marketing research at American Express, business operations and client relations with 601am, travel and culinary writing with VegDining, and playing volleyball professionally overseas.
Betsy is excited to get back into writing, something she’s adored since childhood, and thoroughly enjoys the process of getting to know her interviewees. On top of her work with Wheel:Life, she also teaches students learning English as a second language, speaks French fluently, and travels any chance she gets!