Biking and Mental Health
We all know why we bike! Some may bike to save money, to keep physically fit, and others ride to help reduce our overall carbon emission, but did you know that riding a bike also does wonders for your mental health?
Whether you use a bike to commute to work/school, rip a trail, or to kill boredom you can't deny the feeling it gives you. After your ride you can't help but feel like you’re on a cloud, your shoulders are more relaxed, your mind is clear and all your worries seem to be 10x smaller.
This day and age it's impossible to find someone who doesn’t experience stress, anxiety, and boredom from time to time. Those feelings are totally normal to have, it just becomes a problem if we don’t take steps to help control, combat, or prevent those emotions, and biking is a great activity to manage them. Studies have shown that the combination of physical activity, sun exposure and the outdoors help combat those negative feelings. Yeah you can go on a run, but we all know that jogs can get a little dull. Why run a couple miles when you can get the same if not more exercise and sun on a bike ride!
Experts say that going on consistent rides throughout your week, for about 30 minutes a day, greatly improves your overall mental health, your ability to reason and plan, and your memory. Cycling actively pumps blood throughout your body at a faster rate, spreading endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin giving you a natural mood booster, or what some enthusiasts call “Cycler's high”.
It's hard to get the ball rolling especially if you lead a life of stagnation, but having the mental strength to ditch your phone/tv and trade those hours of wasted time for physical activity can have long lasting positive mental effects. Having that assurance that you are taking care of your body will grow your self-esteem and your confidence will grow along side your physical health!
Taking breaks from the everyday hustle is crucial to maintaining a healthy mind, and biking is a great way to do so. It gives you a time and place where you can zone out and focus on the here and now. Depending on where and how you ride, biking calls for different states of mind. When you’re on a casual ride enjoying the outdoors, you almost reach a meditative state of mind where you can really just slow down and take in your environment, feel the breeze, or the sun beaming down on your back.
For you adrenaline junkies out there you may find that mountain biking, or trail riding, call for a totally different state of mind, requiring your full attention and focus. You have to find that sweet spot where your mind and body synchronize to avoid catastrophe. Some call that headspace being “in the zone” or reaching a “flow state”. When you reach that state the outside world just melts away, all that matters is the obstacle or task at hand, time seems to slow down, your senses are heightened, and your reaction time is tack sharp. If you set a part of the day to go ride no matter what kind of riding you do you’ll find that you can detach from your daily stressors and focus on the here and now
Now-a-days you can find that purchasing a bike/ebike is easier and more accessible than ever, which means that mental health is more accessible than ever. It's about time we all take steps to improve our mental health, and with FLX you can do just that!