Seven ways cycling can boost your mental health
Want to get fitter, healthier and feel more happy? Here are seven ways cycling can boost your mental health.
We know that getting regular exercise like cycling is good for our physical health. It helps us build muscle strength and flexibility, aids weight loss and improves overall cardiovascular fitness.
However, we don’t often consider the mental health benefits of getting on our bike. The relationship between exercise and positive mental health is well known, and it’s generally accepted that working out improves your mood.
Seven ways cycling can boost your mental health
On average 25% of the UK population will experience a mental health problem every year, and suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. So it’s important to find a form of exercise we enjoy – and make time for it in our daily life. And cycling could be the perfect fit.
To find out why, E-bikes Direct, share seven ways cycling can boost your mental health.
1) It relieves stress
The world today is filled with stress triggers – from a tough day at work, to financial or health worries, and nightmare commutes.
Stress can cause many physical symptoms, including headaches, stomach problems, aches and pains, insomnia and chest pain. It also have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing, and can lead to anxiety and depression.
Exercise like cycling reduces the level of cortisol in your body, which is known as the stress hormone. It can also be a great way to break away from a stressful routine, get some fresh air and work off any tension.
2) It gives you a confidence boost
Cycling boosts serotonin, a mood neurotransmitter that is known for enhancing good feelings, self-esteem and self-confidence.
Getting regular exercise will also help to improve your physical health, slim down and tone up, which in turn will help you to feel better and more positive about your appearance.
3) It helps you to sleep well
It’s well known exercise helps you to sleep better (as long as you don’t exercise too close to bedtime).
Cycling encourages the healthy release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) into your blood stream during sleep. HGH helps your body to fall into a proper sleep, and a boost from cycling can help if you find it difficult to drift off.
4) It gives you a natural high
Regular exercise and cycling increases the level of endorphins in your body. These endorphins are chemicals that help us feel good and trigger a positive reaction within our minds and bodies.
Studies show that exercise like cycling for just 10 minutes releases enough endorphins to help us feel happier and more positive. And regular cycling will trigger a consistent flow of endorphins to help you keep your mood up consistently.
As well as being great for emotions and battling mental health, endorphins can help fight other illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.
5) It can help with depression
Regular exercise like cycling can be just as effective as taking anti-depressant medication. Cycling promotes a feeling of wellbeing and a sense of calm, and can help in changing your thought processes and patterns.
Cycling releases dopamine and serotonin which, although not yet proven, is believed to be beneficial for reducing and preventing depression.
6) It gets you outdoors
Getting outside into nature and sunshine can be really beneficial if you’re struggling with depression and anxiety. Combine this with exercise and you are onto a winner.
Taking part in outdoor physical activity such as cycling is associated with increased energy, positive engagement, feeling revitalised and decreased tension and stress levels. Getting out and about into nature can also be great for giving you a new perspective and change of scenery.
7) It’s a healthier commute
Sitting in traffic or on a packed commuter train on a daily basis increases our stress levels and negatively impacts our mental health.
Ditching the car or train and cycling to work instead is a great way of increasing your physical and mental health, as well as eliminating one of the worst parts of your working day. You’ll arrive at the office feeling refreshed, positive and ready for the day ahead – especially if you invest in an electric bike. You’ll also save money over time.
How electric bikes make cycling more accessible
While most of the benefits above can be achieved from a range of different types of exercise, cycling is an excellent option. It enables you to get fit and boost your mental health while actually going somewhere.
And investing in an electric bike can make cycling even more accessible and enjoyable. It is a low-impact, aerobic exercise with the added benefit of an electric motor to help you on your way.
Cycling can be done in small stints or long rides, and the reassurance of knowing you have a battery to help you up daunting hills or if you get too tired, can help you to become more adventurous in your choice or rides and distance.
It also makes it a more viable choice for commuting, as you can cycle longer distances or up hills without working up as much of a sweat if you don’t want to.
Electric bikes also make cycling itself feel more achievable. If you haven’t exercised for a while, the thought of doing anything at all can be overwhelming.
By starting with short, leisurely rides (without any unrealistic targets) and having the reassurance of knowing you have a battery to fall back on if you need it, an electric bike can gently ease you into exercising. Once you’ve built up stamina, you can choose gradually more challenging rides if you want to, and reduce your reliance on the battery less.
As you can see, by incorporating an exercise like cycling into your daily life, you’ll feel fitter, healthier and happier over time, and can enjoy better mental health.
Photo by Blubel