How Your Recovery Rides Can Lower Your Kid's Blood Pressure

Blood pressure tracks from childhood throughout adulthood. So as a responsible parent, wouldn't you want to give your children the best chance at a healthy adulthood?

A recent British study (Leary SD, Ness AR, Smith GD, et al. Physical activity and blood pressure in childhood. Findings from a population-based study.) published in Hypertension showed that:

  • High levels of physical activity in children related to lower blood pressure
  • In children, the volume of activity seems to have a greater impact than the intensity of activity

Many of the cyclists I ride with are parents too. So what does this mean for us?

Get Your Children Moving

Just getting your kids more active will provide them health benefits long into their lives. Don't worry about intensity. Just get them moving a whole lot more frequently.

Don't put your kids on a diet of long steady distance workouts like you as an adult may do. Developmentally children don't have the mental stamina for something like that. Only once they hit their teens can they start handling that kind of training. But do get your kids involved in organized sports. Having them enrolled in various seasonal sports will definitely help them. They don't need to be stars. They just have to participate.

Senseless Activity

And get them involved in as much senseless activity as possible. For example, don't park so close to the door when you take them shopping. Encourage them to walk or ride their bike to school. If you must drive them, drop them off a block away so they'll still need to walk a bit. Anything that gets them off the couch, from behind their computers or game systems, and moving around will help lower their blood pressure.

How Does This Fit With Your Training Plan?

I've gone bike riding with my kids, and it never qualifies as a "workout". But such family bike outings can serve as very useful recovery rides. A proper recovery ride should be a little faster than walking pace, and put very little tension in your legs. It's the perfect pace for noodling about with your kids on the local bike path. It will stimulate your blood flow, and help to remove built up metabolic waste from your workouts. It does your body good, and it'll also do your kids' bodies good.

Ideally, get your workouts done earlier in the day, so you can take an easy ride with your kids after supper. Enjoy their smiles, enjoy yourself, and enjoy your bike.

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