Improved physical strength, flexibility, and weight loss are just a few of some of the many well-known benefits of cycling. What might not be obvious, however, are the mental health benefits cycling offers.
With the challenges and extra strain that we have all experienced during the pandemic, there are more than enough reasons for us to be aware of our mental wellbeing and the positive steps we can take to look after ourselves.
Mental Health Benefits of Cycling
So, here are the top benefits of cycling to your mental health.
1. Proven stress-reliever
Whether it’s a bad day at work, financial burdens, or the dreaded commute- there’s a whole host of things that can leave you stressed on a daily basis.
Stress leads to physical problems such as headaches, back pain and this can really take a toll on your mental health. Stress also makes it really difficult to just switch off and relax after a long day at work and eventually, this can lead to anxiety and depression.
Cycling saves you from this by allowing your body to increase dopamine and serotonin production in your brain. High levels of these chemicals make you feel ‘happy’ and relaxed thus helping you combat stress more effectively.
2. Cycling gets you out in the open
While all exercise is good for your health, doing it outside leaves you feeling more energized, revitalized, and optimistic than when done indoors.
Studies have shown that exercising in the open alone reduces stress levels, lifts your spirits and helps you handle stress in a way that working out in a gym cannot.
So, consider ditching the gym and getting on your bike to soak up the sunshine, scenery, and all the positive vibes.
3. Contributes to better sleep
Cycling has been proven to lower cortisol levels (stress hormones) in the brain, which disturb a deep and restful sleep. It also boosts the level of serotonin in your blood which is known to improve sleep.
In addition, cycling leaves your body feeling exhausted – which is useful, especially for people who find it hard to drift off.
4. For a natural mood-boost
If you find yourself often feeling low, exercising regularly through cycling can help you boost your mood.
Studies show, cycling for only 10 minutes releases enough endorphins to make us feel happy and positive. This can boost your mood and also help battle mental health issues more effectively. Endorphins are also known to fight other illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.
5. An easy fit into your daily life
Unlike dragging yourself to the gym, it is easy to fit cycling into your daily routine.
So, if you are looking to avoid the daily soul-crushing commute and traffic, cycling might be a great alternative.
Ditching your car or the train and opting for your bike is also a great way to start the day. You’ll arrive at your office feeling positive, refreshed, and ready for the day ahead. And this not only leaves you feeling great, but also helps you save money on fuel, tax, and insurance.
Whether you are struggling with brain fog, or often complain about stress, cycling can do wonders for your mental health. The experience of being out in the open, breathing fresh air, and the sun shining on your back alone is enough to lift your spirits and boost your mental wellness.