Some people have different ways to jumpstart their day. It can be tossing back multiple shots of espresso, watching mind-training videos on the Internet, going to the gym, and of course, riding the bike. It is a scientifically proven fact that cycling has several benefits.
According to Studies…
In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, scientists have found that people who rode a stationary bike for 30 minutes scored higher on tests of memory, planning and reasoning than they did before they rode. They also completed the tests in a shorter amount of time after pedaling.
The Beauty of Cycling
Did you know that when you pedal, you are forcing your nerve cells to fire. As your neurons light up, they intensify the creation of proteins that promote the formation of new brain cells, resulting in the doubling or tripling of the production of neurons (basically building your brain). Neurotransmitters (messengers between the brain cells) are also released so all old and new cells can communicate with each other for faster and better functioning. This is a pretty profound benefit for cyclists!
As we age, this kind of growth is important because our brains shrink such connections weaken. Exercise protects and restores the brain, scientists found.
There is a lot more to mental fitness than just improving your mind. Being a cyclist can also have emotional benefits. It has also been scientifically proven that cycling can elevate one’s mood, increase stress resistance, relieve anxiety, and even banish the blues.
Exercise can work just as much as psychotherapy and antidepressants in terms of treating depression – maybe even better! A recent study found that even for just a short time (20 to 30 minutes a day), cycling can prevent depression over the long-term.
Take Necessary Precautions
Although cycling and exercising bring many good things, you still have to keep in mind that exercise itself is a form of stress, especially when you are just getting started or if you just recently returned to riding. When you first begin to exert yourself after some time, your body releases cortisol to raise your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood glucose levels. As you get fitter, however, it takes a longer time or a harder ride to trigger that same response.
So, for those people who are active, it takes a greater crisis to be able to trigger the cortisol response as compared with sedentary people.
What’s the cycling formula for happiness, you ask? Do three to five sessions a week. Each session should last for about 45 to 60 minutes. Be sure to keep your heart rate between 50 and 85% of your maximum capability. At the end of the day, you know you can always go ahead and ride to your heart’s (and mind’s) content!