Although it is not the worst idea globally, it still has merit. Little Tikes developed an exercise bike for children called the Pelican Explore and Fit Cycle. It has a built-in screen so children can ride different terrains through mountains, forests, etc. Sounds cool, right? The reason it has merit is that it is a form of exercise. However, it should not be a staple for a busy parent to occupy their child. And nor should it replace playing, recess, or physical activity. I feel there are more downsides than positives to this exercise stationary bike.
Don’t Exercise- Play and have Fun
The best form of exercise for a child is to play. Playing is open, creative, imaginative, physically active, and fun. This is actually great advice for adults too. Playing is a part of the anti-aging process that trains your brain and body to stay and feel young. Anyways, the word exercise seems like another word for chore. Think about how your child feels thinking, “I need to exercise on the bike today and ride 2 miles. Or, I need to ride my bike with a bunch of my friends for 30 minutes.”
Children need to play because it develops them mentally and physically, and physical development develops the mind. So, when running around outside and playing at the playground, they explore movement that develops their brain, coordination, balance, strength, and endurance. But, on the other hand, exercising on a bike and staring at a computer screen will not provide even half the development as playing will.
I understand it is winter in some parts of the country, and Covid is still present in a very weakened form of flu. However, you can still take your child to the park. There, you can run around without being around anyone. There is no need to have your child exercising on equipment like a stationary bike, especially with a computer screen- an allure worse than sugary candy!
Unlike running, cycling demands proper posture. Not sitting or cycling correctly can cause the shoulders to hunch forward. It can also cause children to lean on their hands too much, causing wrist issues. And since the seat is hard plastic, it is probably uncomfortable too. Having poor posture as a child will only lead to musculoskeletal disorders, strain, pain, and injury in the future. Furthermore, children sit too much at school. So, they should walk, run, and roll around outside to balance the adverse effects of sitting as well as experience their environment.
Nowadays, besides school, children sit in front of the TV, on cell phones, computers and play video games for hours on end. And herein lies the double-edged sword. Too much screen time equals a lack of physical activity. And on the flip side, too much screen time is terrible for your child’s brain. And now you want to add a screen in front of exercise (chore) when you need to be limiting that time.
Computer Screen and Technology
Children, as well as adults, have become too dependent on computers and technology. This dependency affects your brain. Your child’s mind is not fully developed like yours just yet. Their dependence on technology at a young age is detrimental. For example, it:
- Diminishes creativity, focus, and attention.
- Causes poor memory, problem-solving issues, lack of emotion, emotional outbreaks, and anti-social and aggressive behavior, etc.
- Makes a child’s brain less productive. For example, Children often say, why do I need to learn math? I can just use my phone. You see, not a calculator, a phone to do equations.
Interestingly, these symptoms listed above for children and too much screen time are the same as early-onset Alzheimer’s.
- Memory loss
- Challenges in problem-solving
- Difficulty completing tasks
- Poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
Math is important because it exercises your child’s brain like physical activity exercises their body- to keep them healthy, strong, and prevent disease. So, their brain must do the same. Training your child’s brain, will prevent neurodegenerative diseases. Unfortunately, people take the little things that have such profound effects, interrelated in life, for granted.
You don’t want your child to depend on technology when they exercise. It needs to be naturally convincing based on Fun, not because a computer program is involved. Firstly, it can lead to your child having trauma to exercise and not being interested later in life. Or, it can make your child dependent on technology and computers as a means of exercise and develop all the issues that come with increased screen time.
Your child should never be left alone with exercise equipment like stationary bikes or treadmills. Please don’t take it for granted. They don’t have the maturity to be left alone using this type of equipment. They can fall off the equipment and can get hurt badly. There have been instances of death with Peloton treadmills. Peloton had recalled treadmills because of children getting hurt and injured.
Here are some tips for kids to stay active.
- Do age-appropriate activities like Legos, board games, blocks, play sports, etc.
- Set a regular schedule for physical activity after school.
- Make daily life activities fun, like skipping up the steps.
- Make school work like history, math, or vocabulary fun to exercise the brain. You have to be creative.
- Be active with your child at the playground- jumping, climbing, and using the monkey bars.
What you do and how you do it molds your child’s mind, body, and emotions. The daily staples and examples you show them will influence and construct their behavior as they get older.
Make activities and work playful and fun and not feel like a chore. Your child learns best when activities are fun. They learn faster too. And the same with physical activity, they will do it more. Children walking on a treadmill or riding an exercise bike is not an excellent way for them to have Fun. Fun is what children want. Structure their time to play and have Fun, don’t structure time to exercise on a bike.