How Cycling Can Improve Your Mental Health

How Cycling Can Improve Your Mental Health

Mental health concerns are nothing new, but it’s only in recent years that common issues concerning the psyche have started to lose their longstanding stigma. With stress, anxiety, and depression becoming common topics that can be discussed without shame, today, more and more people are starting to feel empowered to face their issues and seek out help, which is a fantastic step towards change.

If you, too, are ready to take measures to protect your mental health and live a more balanced and fulfilled life, you may be on the lookout for a new activity that will facilitate your journey. If that is the case, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn about how something as simple as cycling can considerably improve your mental health and make you a happier person overall.

Cycling gets you outdoors

First and foremost, any activity that gets you out of your house is a great step towards better mental health. The simple act of getting outdoors is refreshing, both for your mind and your body. It immediately boosts your mood and gives you a new perspective. Cycling a bit every day will allow you to breathe fresh air and experience the pleasant feeling of the wind on your face. Explore new routes and see new things every day—it will keep your sense of wonder alive.

It helps you explore nature and your surroundings

As we just said, the great outdoors is a powerful shield against mental health woes. This rings even truer if we’re talking about nature. Today, we are getting more and more disconnected from Mother Nature, especially those inhabiting cities. Making it a point to spend some time among greenery will, however, revitalize you and reestablish this important connection. Explore cycling paths near you or simply find a large park to leverage the power of nature.

Moving relieves stress

The important benefits of an active lifestyle are constantly emphasized. Besides its benefits for your physical health, staying in motion is also important for sound mental health. However, you don’t have to go straight to the gym and take up bodybuilding —though, feel free to do so if you get inspired. Just getting on your bike is enough to take your mind off things and relieve stress. Cycling can reduce your cortisol levels, so if you have a stressful job, switching your mode of transport to two wheels may help you restore your mental peace by the time you get home.

Aerobic exercise against anxiety

As we just said, movement is key for relieving stress. But that is not all. Studies show that high-intensity aerobic exercise is a great way to ward off anxiety, too, and cycling perfectly fits into this profile. As you exert your effort, happy hormones are being produced in your brain, leaving you feeling that pleasant high.

Cycling keeps you healthy

The fact of the matter is that one cannot separate mental health from physical health. Physical health problems can lead to mental health issues, and similarly, continued mental health problems will most definitely manifest in a physical way sooner or later. The great thing about cycling is that it keeps both aspects of your well-being in check. It gets you moving and keeps your body in great condition. Your heart, lungs, and circulation will all get a pick-me-up, so you won’t have to worry about your physical health, which will save you from a considerable amount of stress. Cycling also tires you out, which will allow you to sleep better.

A hobby makes you happier

Taking up a hobby is often recommended to those suffering from mental health issues as hobbies provide a great way to engage your brain, relieve stress, find a new purpose and boost your self-esteem. Taking up cycling can have the same effect. While it may seem like a pretty straightforward activity at first, as you start learning more about the topic, you will get more and more interested in it, and exploring an online bicycle shop will fill you with excitement. Having an activity you love will make getting through hard days that much easier.

You can get more social

Photo by Rikki Chan on Unsplash

While cycling may be an individual activity per se, taking up this activity can actually provide you with many opportunities to make new connections and even new friends. Socializing is incredibly important for warding off symptoms of depression and anxiety. Spending time with others allows us to open up and share our worries, alleviating our burden to a degree. The perspective of others can also prove to be useful when we’re faced with problems. Cycling together with a friend or family member or even joining a club and meeting new people are all great options. In fact, cycling can both be a way to get away from people to spend some quality time with yourself, and a way to socialize and fill yourself with positive energy coming from others.

A boost to your self-esteem

As we mentioned earlier, getting into a new hobby is a great way to boost one’s self-esteem. Getting better and better at something and celebrating your achievements are rewarding experiences that will fill you with positive feelings. You will be inspired to set new goals for yourself and work hard to meet them and rediscover your self-worth.

It keeps you in shape

As we said, the exercise you get from cycling each day will keep your stamina high and your body in shape. This is not only great for your physical health, but a fit body is also very empowering mentally. As you shed excess pounds and notice your lower body getting nicely toned, you will feel better about yourself and get motivated to work even harder.

Staying mindful

We all need time that we can spend with ourselves and simply switch off. Leave your phone at home and let your brain slow down as your pedaling speeds up. Cycling can provide a wonderful opportunity for getting mindful and “decluttering” your brain as you make your way across the tracks and focus on the task at hand instead of the tasks at home.

Cycling is a perfect way to keep your mental health in check while also doing something good for your body. The best thing about it is that it’s easy to integrate it into your lifestyle even if you don’t have a lot of free time. Next time, reach for your bike instead of your car keys and you’ll feel amazing afterward!

Pooja Saxena