Published on October 18th, 2020 | by Christian Kruse0
How Does Cycling Affect Our Mood and Health
Any form of physical activity is great for your positive mental and physical health, but some activities bear fruits faster and more prominently than others. Activities that allow you to exercise your whole body and at the same time give you full exposure to the outdoors always get better results than indoor exercises in regards to emotional and mental health. That is why outdoor exercise is recommended for people suffering from depression, anxiety, and stress.
Cycling is one of the most useful outdoor exercises for positive human health and sustainable impact into the world. It’s aerobic and low impact nature, plus the fact that it is rhythmic and fun, makes it ideal for improving your motor skills and boosting your mood. Best of all, bicycles are easily accessible and highly convenient for everyone, city dwellers included. In fact, you can squeeze biking into your daily commute routine- you bike to work every morning, get the full cardio benefits of cycling, and at the same time avoid traffic and save gas money.
If you have made a new resolution to start exercising more, or if you are returning to cycling after an injury or surgery, implement an e-bike kit onto your normal bike and transition into assisted biking as well as into your new active lifestyle. An e-bike allows you to exercise, boost your mental health, and get fresh air, but with way lesser barriers to entry.
With that in mind, how does cycling affect our mood and health?
1. Improving brain connectivity
Cycling has many positive effects on your brain’s white matter, the part of the brain that aids thinking and cognitive abilities. White matter is found beneath the surface of the human brain from where it connects different regions of the brain. Think of it as the subway system of the brain. This system is of paramount importance for both healthy and schizophrenic brains.
A breakdown in brain connectivity may cause slow thinking and in extreme cases, precipitate cognitive deficits. The remedy for that is to practice a motor skill regularly, best of them all being cycling. Practicing pedaling on a regular basis helps keep the subway system running smoothly by boosting the white matter fiber tracts.
2. Improves creative thinking
Whenever you are suffering a mental block, grab your bike and ride around your neighborhood. Your creativity will be rekindled once you inhale the fresh outdoor air and see the beautiful sights outside. Biking also helps to sharpen problem-solving skills because of the high concentration levels involved. It enables you to refocus your mind’s energy into a positive place, which is good for your creativity and mood.
3. It grows your mind
Pedaling is as important for your gray matter as it is for your white matter. It aids in the formation of new brain cells, which in turn leads to the creation of more blood vessels in your brain. More vessels require more oxygen and nutrients, and the increased affinity of these vital elements literally builds your brain. Biking also enables your brain to release more neurotransmitters, the “communication devices” that facilitate smooth communication between brain cells, new and old.
4. Increased BDNF
Pedaling, like other aerobic exercises, aids in mass production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the brain. This protein is responsible for the creation and maintenance of neurons, molecules that are vital for supporting healthy brain function. BDNF is also known to repel Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, among other neurological problems.
5. Promotes new thought patterns
Cycling allows you to see new things every minute, and that promotes new thought patterns. When thought patterns change minute by minute, you are able to forget stressful events rather fast, and that promotes the feelings of calm and wellbeing. It is a form of meditation especially when you focus on the rhythm of your breathing and the pedal movement. The wind on your face, on the other hand, gives you physical sensations that help your mind to clear.
If not for anything else, cycle because it helps save the environment. Playing a part in reducing the world’s pollution will make you feel good about yourself. Besides, regular riding helps adjust your day-to-day rhythm and cut levels of stress hormones that make proper sleep difficult. Cycling also releases serotonin, a chemical that enhances good feelings, self-esteem and self-confidence. There are endless mood-boosting possibilities with cycling.