Cycling can improve a bad mood! As if cycling wasn’t good enough already, findings show that hopping on a bike and taking a ride can improve your mood. We all have a bad day every now and then, and most of us have our vices that help us handle them. Some eat chocolate, some slurp on the latest mocha frappe blend, others head to the bar, and some just try to sleep it off. It turns out that cycling may improve your mood better than any of those less-than-healthy alternatives!
- Cycling Reduces Anxiety – Anxiety can be crippling. If you suffer from chronic anxiety, panic attacks, or social anxiety, you know that its effects can be debilitating. In addition to making you feel ill at ease, anxiety can cause physical symptoms as well, such as headaches, muscle tension, palpitations, and trembling. A 2001 study found that regular aerobic exercise, like cycling, reduces overall levels of anxiety.
- Cycling Improves Depression – Like anxiety, depression can take over your life. Although many of us refer to a bad mood as “being depressed,” true depression can last for months or longer. People who are inactive are more likely to suffer from depression. Numerous studies have shown that an increase in physical activity, like cycling regularly, improves your overall sense of wellbeing. Active individuals report less symptoms of depression and emotional distress.
- Cycling Improves Mental Health Issues – A study published in The Lancet found that cycling is second only to team sports in its ability to improve mental health. This study considered the mental health of over a million individuals and found that people who exercise suffer from significantly fewer days of poor mental health than their peers who are sedentary. The study also compared different types of exercise, and cycling came in second, slightly behind team sports, for promoting positive mental health.
- Cycling Boosts Feel-Good Hormone Levels – Just a few minutes on a bike is enough to produce a healthy boost of the feel-good hormones, serotonin and dopamine. These hormones are shown to promote a feeling of happiness and acceptance, and encourage you to complete projects and move towards goals. Cycling outside boosts vitamin D levels, which can lead to even greater levels of serotonin production. These hormones also help us manage stress levels.
- Cycling Gets Us to Our Destination with a Smile – A 2014 study at Clemson and the University of Pennsylvania found that people who commute by bicycle have an improved demeanor over people who commute by car or public transport. Cyclists are able to incorporate exercise and physical activity into their day, and may even arrive at work in less time than commuters as they can avoid traffic. And instead of arriving to the office having spent half an hour in a traffic jam, cyclists arrive refreshed and ready to work. Some companies have taken note and are providing financial incentives to encourage employees to cycle to work.
So, next time you are having a bad day, instead of grabbing a chocolate bar, hop on your bike. Ride for twenty minutes or so and then reassess your mood. You may find that a bit of fresh air and some time to reconnect with nature while you take in a bit of exercise is enough to improve your mood. At the very least, you will burn off some of the calories if you find you have to resort to the chocolate bar later!
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At Kass & Moses, we understand cycling because we are cyclists ourselves. Our team of attorneys represent cyclists who have been injured in a bicycle crash. We hope you ride for many years and are never involved in an accident, but if you are, we want you to have someone on your side. Let us focus on dealing with the insurance company while you focus on returning to health.
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