For brain health and mental health:
Cycling is undoubtedly one of the best forms of comprehensive exercise that benefits people both physically and psychologically, in addition to its environmental and societal benefits.
Lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular capacity, and fat burning are just a few of the many well-known benefits to our body that can come with cycling .
What may not be immediately apparent is the impact of cycling on our mental health . How can cycling improve your mental health?
In recent years, it has been observed that the number of cyclists has increased in a number of countries in the world. In the United Kingdom, the percentage of cyclists increased by 19% in 2020 alone. This may be an indirect effect of the spread of Covid 19, and with the days more and more are looking forward to using the bicycle instead. of public transportation and maintaining physical activity.
But how much cycling can actually do for our mental health?
- Bicycling enhances your memory and reasoning:
All exercise can be good for the brain because it helps maintain blood flow to the organ and supplies it with nutrients and oxygen .
People who exercise regularly often find that their judgment, learning and thinking remain good as they age. But it's not just the elderly who benefit from this link between physical exercise and brain function. Even youngsters claim that riding a bike can help with their thought processes .
In a 2013 study, a group of healthy young men cycled at a moderate pace for 30 minutes. The group completed a series of tests before and after exercise. The study found that after the exercise that lasted
30 minutes, they scored higher on memory, planning and reasoning and were able to complete tests faster than before the exercise .
- Cycling improves your brain power:
There's a good reason why studies show that our mental skills improve after riding a bike. It's all about the "white matter" of our brains. The white matter, located below the surface of the brain, acts as a conduit connecting different regions of the brain together like a cerebral subway system .
Evidence from a 2014 Dutch study conducted over a six-month period showed that people who move regularly increase their white matter integrity and the increase helps your brain function more smoothly, which is great for any problem-solving you may have to face at work .
Researchers at Goethe University in Frankfurt, and the results of the study were published in the "Translational Psychiatry" journal, where a recent German study showed that regular physical exercise such as cycling protects brain cells from damage, and prevents cognitive impairment and aging.
The researchers examined the brains of 60 people between the ages of 65 and 85. Experts assessed the participants' performance in terms of movement, cognitive performance and heart health, using magnetic resonance imaging.
After the test, the participants cycled for an average of 30 minutes, three times a week for 12 weeks.
The researchers found that physical exercise had a positive effect in terms of cognitive performance on the brains of the study participants, in addition to enhancing heart efficiency and physical fitness.
The results showed that physical activity reduced the loss of neurons in the brain, a condition that usually occurs as a precursor to Alzheimer's disease.
- Cycling and its effect on brain chemistry:
The research was supported by an earlier commuter study conducted by the University of East Anglia in 2014. This report concluded that those who cycled and walked to work experienced less stress and were able to concentrate more than those who commuted by car.
The same study also found that riders who made the “switch from four wheels to two wheels” reported feeling happier as a result, meaning it altered brain chemistry and helped release happiness hormones.
One study has shown that as little as an hour of cycling helps the body produce the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA). This is a naturally occurring chemical that helps regulate many things within the human body, including stress .
Finally: Dear reader, have you made a decision to ride your bike and get all these benefits?