Have you ever thought just how much riding a bike can benefit your mental health? A bike is one of the most commonly used and beloved means of transport, and for a good reason. If you are already a bike fan or you’re only considering taking it up as a hobby or a form of exercise, these mental benefits will make you want to start cycling immediately.
Improved memory and reasoning
Physical activity increases blood flow through the body, bringing oxygen to all of the organs. That’s why people who exercise regularly discover that they can think more clearly and memorize things more easily. Even older people can stay sharp longer if they are physically active. There was a study in 2013 which showed that after 30 minutes of pedaling, a group of young people had better scores on planning, reasoning, and memory and were quicker at doing the test than before the pedaling.
Good mood and happiness
You’ve probably noticed that people who do regular exercises often seem happier and in a better mood. That’s not just a sheer coincidence! As pedaling speeds up your blood level, the increased level of oxygen coming to your cells also triggers endorphins. Endorphins are micro chemicals responsible for our good mood. If you pedal for some time at a steady speed, you will eventually feel the rush of endorphins.
Rhythmic movement as a form of meditation
We are constantly looking for ways to decrease stress in our lives. Meditation is an excellent tool for fighting stress and the best thing about it is that there are many forms of meditation. Pedaling can be meditative through its rhythmic movements. The repetitive movements clear your mind and free it from anxieties. You are focused solely on pedaling, allowing yourself to achieve mindfulness, which means enjoying the present moment without worrying about what will be or has been.
Avoiding traffic stress
Traffic stress is a very specific type of stress. The crowd, the people shouting, getting angry and impatient, the sounds of cars, trucks, and honks – all of that can sometimes be too much. The worst is to be stuck in your car in heavy traffic, getting stressed out.
It’s smarter to do more practical, eco-friendly thing – browse some bicycles for sale and find one that’s best for city ride. You don’t have to get an expensive bike, and what’s better – it will definitely be cheaper than a car, without any gas emissions. You can choose whatever route you want. Taking care of your mental health and coming to work relaxed and calm is a must and this is definitely the way to do it. In the early morning, the bike will wake you up and energize you so that you come to work ready to tackle any problem. On your way home, it will serve as a decompression tool – you’ll ease the stress while pedaling. And as a bonus – you can always stop in the middle of the ride to enjoy a beautiful view you come across. You are in no rush, so seize every moment to relax.
Our self-esteem is dependable on many things. It’s not easy to be immune to other people’s success thrown into our faces through social media. Many of us have low self-esteem and it’s crucial to change that self-image. A positive attitude about your own achievements, value, and looks needs to be built through various aspects.
Pedaling brings a sense of achievement every time you’re done with the exercise. Whether you’re riding around your neighborhood or exploring the wonders of woods, you will feel better about yourself when you know you’re doing something for your well-being. It’s how you improve the perception of yourself.
Improved problem-solving skills
White matter in our brains connects different regions of the brain. In other words, the quality of these connections makes up our mental skills. Pedaling has a positive effect on the white matter, as some research has shown. A Dutch study from 2014 showed that people who were regularly pedaling for six months improved the integrity of the white matter in their brain. Consequently, your problem-solving skills evolve, which is highly useful for both your work and private life.
Tool for fighting anxiety and depression
Many people who struggle with anxiety or depression turn to cycling to improve their mood and reduce the effects of their condition. Overall, physical exercise is an excellent tool for fighting depression, and cycling is especially beneficial. It aids many changes in the brain, creating a new thought pattern which leads to feelings of calmness. When combined with endorphins that are released in the process, no wonder why cycling really helps with depression.
Another related benefit of cycling is that it’s great at relieving tension and stress, which are both paths to a depressive state. So, it’s a preventive measure, too. Rotating the pedals makes you unaware of the worries, which is chemically very beneficial to the brain. When you “zone out”, you are actually helping your brain recover and gather strength for what’s to come, similar to your body when it’s sleeping.
Surge of creativity
Creativity is important in many aspects of life, especially for specific professions. Sometimes you may find yourself stuck in a rut, in a desperate need of inspiration. Creativity isn’t something that always happens on its own. It can be encouraged in some way. Pedaling could be successful at awakening your creativity. It’s no secret that many professional writers, artists, and musicians use exercise as a form of inciting their creativity. As your brain is thinking only about the uniform movement of pedaling, all functions get stabilized. If you have run out of ideas, take your bike next time and go for a 30-minute ride. You’ll be surprised when an idea hits you in the head while pedaling.
Your mental health is crucial for your well-being. Try out cycling and let it show you how much physical exercise can be enjoyable and beneficial for your mental state at the same time.