While many people understand cycling is a healthy activity, some do not realize the mental health benefits of riding bicycles. Even a men’s or women’s hybrid bike can lead to less stress and more energy when turned into a habit. Some people might struggle to believe that a hybrid – electric and manual – bike can produce the same mental health advantages as a traditional bicycle. Still, the benefits have to do more with the activity as a whole rather than the exercise element alone.
Promotes Better Sleep
Taking your beach cruiser out for regular rides improves your circadian rhythm, meaning you can achieve better sleep with regular rides. Cycling increases a person’s exposure to natural light, allowing the brain to manage sleep hormones correctly. Additionally, the routine exercise of cycling can increase serotonin production, improving sleep cycles. Beyond increased serotonin levels, cyclists often experience a release of endorphins, leading to a cycling high.
Reduce Stress Hormone Production
While learning how to shift gears on a hybrid bike or dealing with workplace problems can lead to stress and anxiety, cycling can reduce the body’s cortisol levels. High cortisol numbers are tied to digestive, focus, and productivity problems. Because of the increases in serotonin and endorphin levels, your body does not feel the need to fall into fight or flight modes, reducing your cortisol exposure.
Encourages Creative Thinking
There is a direct link between exposure to fresh air, sunlight, and greenery and clearer thinking. Cycling maximizes an individual’s exposure to outdoor elements, which can help reduce brain fog. Many creative people explain that taking a bike ride when they feel a mental block is an excellent way to eliminate stress and allow the creative juices to start flowing again.
Frequent cycling can also sharpen a person’s problem-solving skills. The reason might have to do with developing quick reflexes for adjusting routes or other logical associations related to cycling.
Builds New Brain Cells
As crazy as it might sound, turning bike riding into a habit is excellent for the brain. Cycling can actually help produce new brain cells in the hippocampus. This discovery is especially important for aging because the hippocampus is the region of the brain responsible for memory.
People who ride bikes to work or during a workday can boost their productivity. Several studies show that exercise before work can lead to a productivity increase of more than 15%. Additionally, recent statistics suggest that people who do not bicycle will take at least two more days off work per year. Finally, physically fit employees make up to 27% fewer task errors on average.
The advantages of cycling are too many to list in this brief article. However, if you worry about your mental and physical health, consider developing the new and healthy habit of riding a bike. Your body and brain will thank you for it. Head over to your local bike shop to get a professional fitting and test out some of the available models — your journey to better health starts today.