When it comes to academic success, students need more than just a good study schedule and a healthy diet. Regular exercise has been found to have a positive impact on cognitive function, attention span, and memory retention. But with busy schedules, it can be hard to find the time to get exercise in on top of everything else.

Active transportation lets students and adults get some physical activity while also getting to school or work. Best of all it doesn’t even have to feel like exercise since we all have to get there anyway. Cycling to school is an excellent way for students to get the exercise they need while also improving their academic performance.

Best of all passive exercise like commuting promotes healthy habits that can be carried on into adulthood. Active transportation is an amazing multitasker getting you a fitness boost and where you need to go at once! But it turns out it can also provide a nice mental boost as well. 

Allowing kids to navigate their own way, with some guidance from adults, helps their cognitive development. A Danish study of 20,000 kids found that those that transported themselves to school had better concentration than students that got dropped off by car. What better way to start your school (or work) day off than with a little exercise and get into your studies with a concentration boost? I’m sure many parents wish they had a little more focus on their morning algebra. And riding a bike to school (or anywhere) easily covers all five national standards for K-12 physical education. 

Of course, the best way to encourage more walking and cycling to school is with infrastructure changes that create equitable and safe transportation opportunities for every student across Iowa combined with education programs teaching kids and adults how to ride right. And there is safety in numbers. Cycling is safer for everyone when there are more people riding bikes on the road. 

Are you interested in promoting active transportation to your school? Use this link to find resources available and feel free to reach out to Matt at matt@iowabike.org

Further Reading: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6950697/