As most of us are aware, riding our bikes is great for our physical health. It improves fitness, reduces body fat and many other improvements to our health. But what about the benefits to our mental health?
Many studies over the years have made a positive connection between regular exercise and mental health especially physical activity outdoors. The normal stresses of daily life along with depression and anxiety can all be combated with regular exercise.
Some people ride their bikes to get fit and some people ride because it makes them happy and they enjoy it. Your mental health is as important to keep healthy as it is important to keep your physical body healthy. Science suggests mental health may even be a stronger predictor in life expectancy.
1. Exercise Improves Mood and Mental Health
Studies show that just half an hour each day of exercise helps improve peoples mood and well-being. People who have an active lifestyle reported feeling in a better mood and general well-being than people who did not. One of the easiest ways to implement 30 minutes of physical activity is biking to work.
2. Physical Activity Is An Effective Anti-Depressant
A long term study in adults determined that high levels of physical activity lead to a decreased risk of developing clinical depression later in life. A lot of psychotherapies can have negative effects but physical activity can be as effective as some psycho-therapeutic techniques to treat depression with no negative effects.
3. Physical Activity Relieves Stress
Try to think about the last time you were stressed – did you exercise that day? We are betting that the answer is “no”. It probably didn’t occur to you that exercise would help. While we all know about the physical benefits of exercise, we rarely think about exercising to improve our mental health. If you’re having a bad day try and get outside to exercise, even if it’s only a walk at lunchtime. It’s amazing how just 20-30mins walking and some music lifts the mood.
4. It is Better For Your Mental Health To Exercise Outdoors
While swimming lengths at the local pool, hitting the treadmill or dropping in on a gym class are all effective ways to achieve the mental health benefits of exercise, there’s another reason cycling might be the way to go. Exercising in the natural environment is associated with greater feelings of revitalisation and positive engagement when compared to exercising indoors. Decrease in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy are also common side effects. Exercising in nature, not only lowers blood pressure but also has positive effects on your mood and self-esteem. Exercising outdoors will release more serotonin – the mood-regulating hormone and increase endorphin and dopamine levels – the post-exercise feel-good hormones. What better way to reduce emotional stress and get into a better mental state.
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