October 4, 2021
While some may view physical exercise as separate from mental health, the body and mind are intricately connected. When you ride your bike, you are addressing the needs of both your body and mind. From relieving stress to changing your neurochemistry, biking has loads of benefits for regular cyclists.
The human body evolved in an environment in which near-constant movement was a necessity. Today, we know that existing indigenous societies spend far more time walking to their destinations than the average city dweller.
For this reason, the neurotransmitters in the brain have developed to encourage and reward physical activity. Sedentary living, on the other hand, can result in depression, anxiety, and other mental ailments.
Moving your body vigorously for at least 30 minutes a day results in a cascade of chemicals called endorphins in your brain. Endorphins are essentially pain relievers that are internal to your body. While they can cause extreme euphoria, known as a "runner's high" after intense exercise, they usually just make you feel good.
Beyond the exercise benefits of biking, biking allows you to get yourself outside into the natural world. As the mind-body connection works in both directions, allowing yourself to imbibe the sights and sounds of nature can result in profound stress relief that relaxes your whole body.
As you ramp up your pedaling speed, you increase the stress relief you experience. An extended cardiovascular workout can relieve significant stress, lowering your stress hormones for days afterward. Though a workout routine can never change your stressful life circumstances, it can help you cope more effectively.
Anxiety and depression are intimately associated with one another. In fact, over the past 50 or so years, psychiatric professionals have found that patients rarely exhibit only one symptom without the other. The two conditions, however, may not exist at the same time. You may, for example, feel sluggish and depressed in the morning but anxious as you arrive at work and find the mountain of paperwork ahead of you.
By exercising and getting yourself outside, you can kill two birds with one stone. As your anxiety subsides, your depression should as well, and vice versa.
If you listen to podcasts by certain prominent navy SEALs, you may believe that waking up well before the crack of dawn and foregoing sleep is essential for fitness and happiness. This couldn't be further from the truth. There is a biological purpose for sleep, and getting sufficient sleep is essential for health, happiness, and longevity.
Sleep can be impaired by:
When you exercise often and avoid chemicals that damage your delicate sleep cycle, you give yourself the best chance of sleeping well at night. Sleeping well creates a positive feedback loop of wellbeing and mental clarity.
The mind-body connection is complicated. While scientists are only beginning to understand how the body influences the mind, it is already clear that regular exercise contributes directly to overall health.
The secondary benefits of biking and other healthy activities are reduced anxiety, improved sleep, and alleviated stress. Finding time for a rigid biking routine can improve your life in ways you previously hadn't imagined, as improved relationships and workplace successes are the true benefits of physical activity.
If you have always wanted to take up biking but haven't known where to start, just jump in. An electric bike is great for both starters and serious riders, as automatic settings can kick in where pedaling becomes too tough. For some of the best models on the market, check out Sixthreezero today.