We all know that biking is great for the body, as it boosts cardiovascular health, builds strength, reduces body fat, and increases circulation. However, let us not forget that physical and mental health benefits are interwoven and mutually dependent. In fact, activities like biking can help you melt away stress, improve mood, and increase focus. While your muscles are engaged, the brain works as well and receives an instant chemical boost.
• Raises Self-Esteem
Physical activity tends to increase self-esteem, which is pivotal to unlocking the positive feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Interestingly enough, the duration and intensity of exercise do not further impact levels of self-esteem. So, feel free to stick to the pace you are comfortable with. A little cruise here and there should do the trick.
• Improves Mood
Likewise, a “lifestyle exercise” such as biking has a positive impact on one’s subjective mood and well-being. I remember the mere act of purchasing a bike from an online bicycle store made me feel better about myself.(1) Of course, the true benefits kick in once you get the wheels rolling. You realize that the active, casual vibe of the very experience changes your self-perception.
• Wards Off Depression and Anxiety
A growing number of scientific studies suggest that bike riding is an effective antidepressant and anxiety buster. It significantly decreases the risk of developing clinical depression and helps adults that already have the symptoms. As for anxiety, a lightweight physical activity is associated with alleviating panic attacks, anxiety disorders, social anxiety, etc.
• Lowers Stress
Considering the aforementioned benefits, it does not come as a surprise that taking your bike for a spin can also reduce stress, the great menace of our age. In fact, physical exercise is one of the most common and recommended methods for keeping it at bay.(2) We all have our coping mechanisms, but this one makes a real difference.
• Outdoor Bliss
There is something special about daydreaming by the riverside, looking at the natural landscape, and lying on the grass under the eternal blue sky. A soothing natural backdrop helps the brain release endorphins and other “feel-good” hormones. The great outdoors are also much healthier than the cubicles we live and work in, especially when it comes to our sleeping patterns and overall mood.
• Freedom and Control
Having a bicycle allows you to escape not only the stale indoor environment but also the entirety of the daily hustle and bustle. Traffic hassle is not a problem, is it? Well, other mental health nightmares also become less vivid and scary. You could say that the only limitations you need to take on are those that exist in the mind.(3) So, free yourself from mental chains and take control over your life.
• More Power To You
Riding a bike is more than relentless pedaling. It is a powerful psychotherapeutic technique, a tool for painting a mental picture of health. Those who really try it usually develop a habit for life. Bear in mind that each and every lifestyle choice matters and adds up. Thus, if you are down in the doldrums, just grab a bike and head outside. Make a positive change in your daily life and pedal your way to happiness. ♥
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- Pedaling Towards Happiness: 7 Mental Health Benefits of Riding a Bike - August 31, 2017