It is obvious for bikers and non-bikers as well that riding the bike regularly offers a lot of physical benefits. It assists in weight loss, increases body strength, and improves circulation and cardiovascular fitness. But what about mental wellness? Does it help?
The connection between mental wellness and exercise is not really new. Throughout the years, studies have been made concerning the two. And as further studies and research developed, it has become vivid that biking as a means of regular exercise – just as any outdoor physical activity –plays a vital role in combating daily stress, anxiety, and depression.
Most people bike to get fit. Others do it as a hobby simply because it adds to their happiness. How you see yourself,and your life is as relevant as your body built. Evidence proves that mental health might be a strong predictor of life expectancy as compared to one’s physical health, even stronger than smoking.
Mental Health Benefits Of Biking
- It Improves Self-Confidence
As per William McGuire, how we view ourselves is arguably the central concept in our lives. Whether you believe in this premise or not, it would be hard to deny that our perception of what we think about ourselves is a determining factor in achieving happiness and self-satisfaction. The emergence of social media has greatly impacted every aspect of our lives, especially since a lot of people post their achievements on Facebook everyday. Truthfully, the pressure is so overwhelming.As per studies, physical activity greatly impacts self-confidence positively, no matter how short or long the activity is.
- Biking Affects One’s Mood Positively
For a minimum of 30 minutes of biking a day, people have observed a boost in their mood in a positive way. This fact is also backed by studies proving that individuals with an active lifestylegenerally feel better and have a great sense of well-being than those who were in competitive sports or worse, have a sedentary lifestyle. Know an easy way to integrate an active lifestyle? Biking your way to work!
- It Helps Reduce Anxiety And Stress
Cycling is a type of low-impact aerobic exercise that has the ability to normalize one’s body systems, as any aerobic exercise does. Following that premise, once the body gets rid of the toxins and other unhealthy substances, the result is physical fitness. And because it also impacts the nervous system, it also helps reduce levels of stress and anxiety, although higher intensity aerobics are more effective in doing so.
- The Outdoors Is Great For Your Mental Health
We know that working out in the gym or swimming a few laps are effective methods of achieving mental wellness. However, biking might just outdo these physical activities. According to a 2011 study, doing physical activities outdoorsare associated with feelings of rejuvenation, feeling more alive, and a positive outlook for the rest of the day. Communing with nature also clears the mind from confusion, anger,and depression. Yes, undeniably exercise has tons of mental health benefits. But doing it outdoors? Even better.
- It Saves You From That Horrible Traffic
Ultimately, the benefits mentioned above of biking to our mental health are not only exclusive to biking. These can all be achieved through other physical activities like jogging, swimming, hiking,and other fun sports. But can jogging, swimming, and hiking spare you from the horrors of traffic? No, of course not. Biking can! You can easily maneuver your way through the corridors and the curbs while people are driving themselves mad over the rush hour.
It is scientifically proven that traffic does cause anxiety and stress, and it is not at all good for the soul. So if today is THE day of the week that gets your nerves because of it, then why not ride the bike to work? Have a great day for the rest of the day and be mentally well. Don’t drive the car!