Frequently Asked Questions
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Why cycling and not other sports?
No matter how fit a kid is, bike riding is easy for to pick up. This means that students are more able to be engaged, especially since there isn't any sitting on the sidelines. It's also one of the few forms of exercise that virtually any student can participate in, while also getting the cardio that we're finding is needed to positively influence brain function. More so, cycling is easy to learn, and it quickly builds up confidence in kids and gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Exploring the neighborhoods around school by bike instills a sense of freedom and independence. Of course, riding also helps build lasting relationships between kids. We've found that a group develops camaraderie between the classmates and teachers, and this improves the dynamic of student-to-student and student-to-teacher relationships. But let's not forget the easiest lesson here—riding is fun!
What is the age range for the cycling program and why?
Our research and curriculum is focused on middle school kids, ages 11 to 14. There are a ton of reasons for why we chose this age range, but mainly, it's because middle school is when academics start to become really important and students are expected to keep focused more than ever. Middle school age is also manageable for teachers to take kids riding off campus. And by making cycling a normal part of their day in school, it'll encourage more kids to maintain the habit. We expect that kids of all ages will benefit from cycling, but our research will only address kids in middle school.
What role do medications, like Ritalin, play in treating ADHD?
We're in favor of exploring all treatment options for kids struggling with ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms, and we believe the best approach to treating symptoms is to look at the whole child. Cycling may be part of a comprehensive treatment program, or may even be prescribed as the sole therapy. Physicians and families have observed the benefits that physical activities can have for some children with ADHD, but the formal research to explain those benefits are lacking at the moment. Our hope is to one day understand how every kid is affected by genetics, the environment, and other factors.
Why is The Foundation focused on ADHD? Wouldn’t all kids benefit from cycling, especially those with anxiety, depression, or obesity?
Yes, all kids can benefit from cycling! We believe it has positive benefits far beyond what we currently understand, and we hope that our research will lend itself to a broader discussion around how activities, like cycling, can help with all types of health-related issues. At the moment, ADHD is at the heart of the Specialized Foundation, as it was inspired by Mike Sinyard's own struggle and his passion to improve the lives of kids with ADHD.
How is the Foundation going to advance the research?
Right now, there's a gap in the scientific community around ADHD and treatment options. In 2012, we partnered with RTSG Neuroscientists to conduct a study at two schools in Natick, MA. The team hoped to understand what, if any, impact cycling had on students with ADHD, and the study indicated that cycling helped improve student attention, mood, and behavior. These results inspired us to take the study to look at how cycling during PE class might improve standardized test scores.
It was this study that inspired the Specialized Foundation to be formed, and through our partnership with Stanford Medical School, and other research institutes, we hope to narrow the gap in the scientific community and provide doctors and parents with insight into more treatment options for kids with ADHD.