One needs to maintain their mental health, just like one maintains their physical health. A healthy person needs to maintain both their physical and mental health in order to live a healthy lifestyle and to keep themselves fit. In order to keep ourselves healthy and fit we need to do regular exercise and concentrate on our diet.
Although in this high-paced lifestyle it is never possible to maintain both your fooding habits and regular exercises on a regular basis, cycling comes to your rescue as it helps you to keep yourself fit and at the same time cope up with your fast-paced lifestyle. Cycling regularly for about 15 minutes will provide you with several health benefits and keep you fit while you are even traveling. Yes, cycling won’t help you lose your belly fat but it will definitely help you lose your entire body fat, which ultimately helps in weight loss.
Cycling is considered best for maintaining your physical and mental health. But today in this article we will be discussing whether cycling improves mental health and if it does what are the mental health benefits we get from cycling. Let’s begin.
Is it possible to reduce stress by cycling?
Yes, it is 100% possible to improve your mental health by cycling. Cycling makes you stress-free and activates certain hormones that help you to uplift your mood. In our day-to-day life, we go through various types of stress which include work-related stress, money-related stress and even relationship-related stress. When we are under stress our body releases a hormone known as the cortisol hormone. Cortisol is released to reduce stress. When cortisol is released the glucose level in the blood increases and the blood pressure is regulated. But when you are under stress for a longer period two types of changes are seen at the mental and physical levels.
When you are under stress for a longer phase the excess cortisol increases the blood sugar level which leads to weight gain and diabetes. On the other hand, low cortisol levels can result in muscle weakness and weight loss.
If you are under stress for a longer time it would definitely result in depression, anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness, demotivation and frequent increase in anger levels.
So staying under stress for a longer time is very harmful and can adversely affect both your physical and mental health.
How does cycling help mental health?
Various researches suggest that mental health problems can be cured and prevented by an active lifestyle and regular exercise. A research published in Lancet shows the relation between exercise and mental health. The research was conducted on 12 lakh people over a period of 3 years and it was found that people who exercised on a regular basis had 43% fewer poor mental health days. They even brought out a ranking list of exercises that positively affect mental health. Cycling was mentioned at the 2nd position right after team sports.
How cycling affects mental health?
As proven cycling can definitely improve mental health. Let’s see how cycling affects mental health.
1. Cycling acts as a stress reliever
Cycling actually acts as a stress reliever. Regular cycling helps in the regulation of the production of cortisol hormone. Along with this, your muscles get exercised and you get a good night’s sleep. We all know how a night of good sleep is necessary to get better mental health.
2. Cycling keeps you high
Regular cyclers feel high throughout the day which is also known as cycling high. This is nothing but the development of a sudden rush of happiness while cycling. This generally occurs because of increased blood flow levels in the body and also because of the secretion of two hormones viz the endorphins and the dopamine. Both of these hormones are responsible for providing you with a good and happy mood.
3. Improves functioning of the brain
Cycling helps in increasing the flow of blood in the brain which helps in reaching oxygen and nutrients to your brain quicker. This improves the performance of your brain. Studies also prove the production of specific proteins for new brain cell development by cycling which results in better memory and creative thinking.
4. Promotes positive mental health
Cycling on a regular basis promotes positive mental health by reducing depression, anxiety and stress, which ultimately keeps you happy and confident throughout the day.
How much cycling should you do?
According to scientists, you should do cycling for about 30-60 minutes for 4 days a week at an average speed to get all the mental and physical health benefits. If you are cycling on a regular basis 15 minutes per day can also be considered great.