Why is balance so important?
Physical inactivity in children can not only lead to health risks such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary artery disease, but can also lend to poor motor skills, having a detrimental effect on cognitive function and academic performance. (Medical Daily Oct 28 2014).
Without effective transition from basic balance and sensory integration, learning and reading development can be significantly delayed.
Although balance maturation is not generally achieved in children until the age of 12, improving balance and sensory processing skills early in life will help children to excel and those with challenges or weaknesses (such as dyslexia, Down Syndrome, ADD and ADHD) improve dramatically.
What is balance?
Balance is the ability to maintain control of a particular body position whilst performing a given task with minimal postural sway. This could be achieved simply by sitting at a table, standing on one leg or riding a bike. Maintaining control of body positioning requires good static and dynamic balance, reducing the energy required to perform a host of tasks and activities whilst minimising fatigue.
Static balance is the ability to maintain control of a position whilst remaining stationary - for example, balancing on one leg or holding a headstand.
Dynamic balance is the ability to maintain balance and control of the body whilst moving, such as hopping, jumping, riding a bike or snowboarding.
Fundamental motor skills are the building blocks for engagement in physical activity and aid all aspects of the learning process. If these skills are underdeveloped in childhood, a child's ability to participate in and enjoy physical activity can be greatly diminished. In practicing gross and fine motor skills, children not only gain intellectually, but also grow in strength, develop new skills and enjoy increased confidence levels in the face of new challenges.
Balance bikes promote symmetry, particularly with the upper body being encouraged to hold the handle bars steady whilst the lower part of the body is able to move freely and evenly. Balance, postural control and symmetry all help children develop the basic skills for any future physical activity.
Balance is vital to achieving success in almost every sport or physical activity and is fundamental in the process of learning to ride a bike. Through practice with balance equipment and balance bikes, children gain the ability and confidence needed to ride a pedal bike with confidence.
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I was impressed with the potential opportunities Balanceability offers for younger children who would normally have to wait until year six to receive any formal cycle training.
Attending a Balanceability demonstration at Welton Primary School, I was impressed with the potential opportunities it offered for younger children
Working with schools as a Bike It officer, I have found that there is a real gap in cycle training for children below year five who can access a Bikeability course.
Balanceability offers the perfect solution to this gap in skill development. I was extremely impressed when I observed the course
Balanceability is the fundamental starting point for children’s cycling and an excellent opportunity to promote active lifestyles at the earliest possible age.
Balanceability offers children a great opportunity to become competent cyclists at an early age through the development of balance and control.
The Programme is made up of progressive learning experiences, with fun ways to learn to cycle on balance bikes. This
I am delighted to work with Balanceability.
A child who enjoys riding a bike is more likely to cycle as an adult or even to become an