When we discuss the many health benefits linked to cycling, almost every article highlights the physical advantages of riding a bicycle. While the physical health benefits are certainly noteworthy and abundant, it is important to recognize the fact that cycling is really great for your brain too. The mental and psychological benefits of cycling are legitimate yet incredibly under-publicized. In today’s stressful working environment, people are often looking for ways to relax their minds and take a break from the daily hustle that causes stress. From work drama to family issues, the list of daily anxieties goes on and on. Cycling, however, is an excellent way to curb these common stressors for all types of people.
Whether you choose to cycle to get fit, for competitive purposes, or even for social reasons, riding a bicycle regularly is an excellent way to keep your mind and body happy. Let’s take a look at the mental benefits of cycling:
1. Reduces stress
Let’s face it, life can be really demanding sometimes. Getting out on your bicycle every day helps to reduce these stresses. Not only has it been proven that cardiovascular exercise helps to reduce stress and ease anxiety, but cycling, in particular, has been said to benefit the rider’s overall state of mind.
2. Reduces risk of depression
The sheer enjoyment of riding a bike can be enough to ease the mind of some of its demons and reduce the risk of depression and mental illness.
3. Helps you sleep better
Riders are able to get their circadian rhythm in sync by riding regularly. In addition, cycling can help to reduce levels of cortisol in the body which is a stress hormone that may block regenerative, deep sleep. It also can positively affect brain serotonin which can improve your sleep cycles.
4. Improves your memory
As aging sets it, it is often difficult to maintain a sharp memory. Riding a bike helps to build new brain cells in the hippocampus, this is the region of the brain responsible for a person’s memory.
5. Helps you feel good
People who choose to cycle instead of drive gain a sense of pride by helping save the environment. Reducing your carbon footprint and avoiding adding to the world’s pollution does a wonder for making you feel good about yourself. Cyclists enjoy the benefits of a “cycling high”. Similar to a “runner’s high”, cyclists often note that the endorphins that come from the physical exercise of riding a bike make them feel happy.
6. Improves creative thinking
All kinds of artists and musicians take a bike ride when they are suffering a mental block. The ability to exercise while getting fresh air helps to sharpen problem-solving skills as well as creativity. Avid cyclists note that they have an addiction to riding. This positive addiction is a great way to refocus your mind’s energy into a positive place.
7. Helps boost productivity
Recent studies have suggested that employees who bike to work are more productive. In addition, a quick afternoon bike ride can boost your energy levels and help you have a more productive evening.
Cycling is a great sport for many reasons. Giving your mind that extra boost of positivity is important for your overall happiness. The psychological and mental advantages of riding a bike regularly are something that really helps maintain cheerfulness in our daily lives.
Do you ride for exercise or for the mental benefits of cycling? Please share your opinions below.