When it comes to mental health, any exercise is better than none at all but cycling has been proven to be particularly useful when it comes to combating mental health issues. It’s the type of exercise that most people are able to engage in and typically it’s cheaper than the gym. Certain studies have even suggested that exercising outside is better for your mental health that indoor exercise.
Physical exercise has been proven to contribute to good mental health since Roman times. Exercise is even more important to people who do have mental health issues because they are more likely to have a poor diet, smoke or drink too much and be overweight. They are also twice as likely to die from heart disease and four times as likely to die from respiratory disease according to mental health charity Mind.
They reckon that a huge one in four of us will experience a mental health problem every year.
Exercise like cycling has a huge range of health benefits for mental health. It reduces stress as aerobic exercise such as cycling can help to reduce the stress hormone. Ask any cyclist and they will tell you that a bike ride is the perfect way to reduce tension. Reducing this tension and stress has even bigger benefits than making you feel instantly better but it also lowers the chance of other conditions being triggered because of stress.
Exercise releases endorphins or the ‘feel good hormones’ which creates something amazing known as ‘runners high’ which can help to reduce anxiety and make you feel happier.
When out on your bike you will probably find yourself more present in the moment than usual as all you really need to focus on is your feet pushing the peddles, balancing your bike and your surroundings which will be ever changing. Your more likely to be mindful of the exercise and you will find that your brain is a lot quieter than normal.
Cycling increases self esteem and makes you view yourself in a more positive light because not only are you working on yourself and becoming fitter but you are also proving to yourself that you can do it. It creates a sense of satisfaction and a level of control.
All of these benefits are listed by Mind and we whole heartedly agree with all of them.