Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist, a fairweather rider or a new arrival to cycling, the benefits of riding a bike extend well beyond physical benefits.
Exercise has long been linked to mental well-being, and activities such as cycling provide a range of benefits.
When you’re cycling, you have to focus on balance, momentum and very little else. The sensations of the present moment leave your mind with very little time or space for racing thoughts which might otherwise pre-occupy you. Focus on your emotions throughout the ride and feel the tightness of your calves as you push up inclines and the breeze against your face as you descend.
Team sports often frequent the top spot in studies looking at mental health. Grabbing a buddy or joining a cycling social can enhance your bike ride and make the ride more of an event. If your pals or family members aren’t up for it, take a look at cycling clubs in your area. ‘Ride Social’ is a great site for connecting local riders in your area.
Aerobic exercise can significantly reduce feelings of anxiety and can help prevent those feelings develop into panic attacks or anxiety disorders. If your anxiety is creating a barrier to getting out on your bike, try starting off with a quieter route, such as local waterways or canals where the serenity of being in nature provides a calm and relaxing environment.
Exercise can give you a sense of self-control and satisfaction which in turn can make you feel more positive about yourself. It’s important to remember that how you talk to yourself breeds confidence and helps you to achieve any goals that you have set. Be mindful of how your self-talk can either sabotage or boost your self-confidence. Instead of ‘I can’t make it more than a mile on my bike’, try ‘this is a great opportunity for me to improve my fitness and have fun’.
The benefits of aerobic exercise and cycling are positive and can ultimately help you on your way to a more positive mindset, improved confidence and reduced anxiety. Take a trip on your bike and soak up the scenery, enjoy the opportunity to spend time outdoors and embrace the positive vibes.