Riding a bike is relaxing. If you’re stressed at work, you can often burn it off by cycling home. And if you’re dealing with a more serious problem, cycling can help you regain some balance in your life. A survey conducted over the years showed that indoor or outdoor cycling ranks close to the top for beating stress, depression and poor mental health - after those who play team sports.
There was a positive correlation between all those who participated in some form of physical exercised and a lower mental health burden – this ranged from an 11 to 22% reduction. Those who played team sports saw a 22% reduction, whilst cyclists enjoyed approx 21% and gym users a 20% reduction.
I imagine most of us probably still don’t give much thought to mental health - even after all the campaigning and changes in our local communities to un-mute this topic of discussion. We’re still all just managing okay – or just about managing – and, unlike physical health problems, the symptoms in ourselves and others can easily be overlooked.
As an office full of cyclists and other outdoor pursuits we can vouch for the fact that exercise makes us feel better. The proof is in the pudding - exercise is significantly associated to aiding well-being and preventing poor mental illness/ emotion.
What happens during a 1 hour ride?
- First 10 minutes; a sense of freedom hits your system! An uncontrollable grin emerges from all joy sparked from the burst of energy you feel pedaling.
- 20 minutes in; you're still riding the wave - the buzz is high and so is the pace. Your body is ridding itself of the cortisol in your body - the stress hormone that prevents sleep.
- 40 minutes; blood flow and oxygen to the brain is boosted. All this fresh air = less couch potato days!
- 45 mins; what a difference 5 minutes makes - endorphins are released and endorphins make you happy!
- 60 minutes in; with every minute you're going you automatically reduce the risk of hear disease. But now you're debating the inevitable question - to keep going, or to keep some in the tank for another day...
- 60 minutes in; whatever the answer - recover properly! Warm down and refuel (energy bar/ water or hit the pub - we don't judge) - both are good for the soul!