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When it comes to introducing your kids to sports, cycling stands out as a fantastic choice. It’s a sport that combines fun, fitness, and safety, and it’s a skill they can carry with them throughout their lives. While summer bike rides with your kids are a blast, the colder months and snowy weather can make it challenging. That’s where indoor training comes to the rescue. Enter Zwift, a virtual program that connects a smart bike trainer to a computer or mobile device. With Zwift, you enter a virtual world, guiding an avatar as it pedals through different landscapes. More than just fun and game-like, Zwift offers an exceptional opportunity for exercise and independence for kids.
What is Zwift?
Zwift isn’t just an ordinary indoor training program; it’s a dynamic platform used by cyclists worldwide. It’s not just about pedaling indoors. The idea is that it’s supposed to be just like riding outside, and in a lot of ways it is. Zwift lets kids explore all sorts of places, including fictional worlds like Watopia and Makuri, but also places like France, Innsbruck, Scotland, and more. It can provide structured workouts and detailed metrics, helping kids track their progress and performance. Everything in Zwift revolves around power, measured in “Watts” – the more watts on the trainer, the faster your avatar goes in the game.
Why is Zwift an Good Choice for Kids’ Indoor Exercise?
Cycling holds great significance for kids. Riding bikes offers them an awesome way to bond with family and friends. The world of cycling is expanding, and it’s increasingly becoming a sport for kids. Programs like NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) are making competitive bike racing accessible to middle and high schoolers. As kids transition into middle school and early high school, they often crave more outdoor adventures. However, when the weather doesn’t cooperate, especially during winter, Zwift emerges as a productive and enjoyable indoor alternative.
What Makes Zwift So Great for Kids?
Zwift isn’t just another indoor cycling app; it’s also a community. The platform constantly offers exciting events, including group rides and races. It’s a great way to keep your kids engaged when outdoor recreation becomes challenging. The gamification elements in Zwift add a layer of excitement. Kids can level up, unlock virtual bikes and gear, even earn XP for more fun equipment, and conquer challenges to unlock special rewards. Zwift turns indoor cycling into an adventure that makes it super exciting for kids.
What Equipment Do You Need for Zwifting?
To get your child started on Zwift, you’ll need a few things:
First, they’ll need a bike, and a stationary trainer to stabilize the bike and measure the metrics like power. You’ll also need a device like a tablet or computer to run the Zwift app. Another helpful but optional thing is to get a fan for when they’re getting too hot as they work out. When biking you naturally have the air to cool you down, so having a fan simulates this indoors well. Then the last thing you’ll need is a zwift subscription. Good news- it’s free for kids.
How to Get a Free Under 16 Zwift Account
Getting a free Zwift account for your child under 16 is pretty simple. Just head on over to www.zwift.com/kids and fill out all of the required information. Once the account has been made and confirmed by the Zwift team, it will remain active for another year before it will need to be renewed by the parent. It can be renewed until the child turns 16, and then you’ll need to pay the monthly fee of 14.99 to keep the account active.
How Suitable is Zwift for Kids?
Zwift isn’t exactly built around kids. It works great for them, but the intent of the program was really to allow serious cyclists to have a more exciting way to train in the winter. Luckily, it works well for kids just wanting to have fun too. The only downsides are that zwift is primarily centered towards cyclists and bike racers, so races and group rides won’t work as well for a kid that can’t do as much power. After signing up for zwift, your kid will have the option to take an FTP (Functional Threshold Power) test to gauge how fast they are. This will help them ride with people more their speed and will make any workouts they do fit to what they are capable of. While not required, an FTP can help a lot and be a good reference for kids and improvement.
Introducing your kids to Zwift is an awesome way to keep them active, engaged, and excited about staying active indoors. Whether they’re racing, exploring virtual worlds, or just enjoying a ride, Zwift offers a world of adventure from the comfort of home. So, as a parent, you can encourage your child to pedal into this virtual world and embark on an amazing cycling journey with Zwift!