We all know that cycling has great physical benefits — improves muscle tone, stimulates weight loss, strengthens cardiovascular health, and so on. But have you ever wondered if it stops there? Well, the answer is definitely NOT!
According to recent research, cycling has a wide array of psychological benefits that stretch beyond what meets the eye. Cycling, as a matter of fact, has a very huge impact on our brain and definitely for good. In times, when there are a number of diseases waiting to get hold of us and when we need to find solutions that could help us curb the diseases, cycling sounds like a great solution. One of cycling’s clearest benefits it has on the brain is its effects on the mood. It is no secret that cycling makes a person happier, but this uplifting effect may involve some unexpected neurological factors. A 2015 study found that aerobic exercises increase levels of Anandamide in the blood, a natural cannabinoid. Cannabinoids affect the endocannabinoid system, which is the same part of the brain that marijuana’s active components affect. This may explain why so many people feel the renowned “cyclist’s high” during a long ride. The activation of this system alters emotional and cognitive processes, giving cyclists a natural burst of euphoria and boost in mental health. Knowing this, it is not very surprising that cycling regularly definitely helps prevent and cure depression, reduces anxiety and helps deal with stress more effectively in the long run. According to James Blumenthal of Duke University, the immediate effect of cycling on your brain is a spike in Serotonin, the “happy hormone”. When we cycle, our bodies improve their ability to regulate hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This results in improved ability to handle stress. Hormonal imbalances cause our bodies to respond to stress negatively, so it is important to have a routine like cycling to allow our bodies to handle stress more easily. So, cycling regularly ensures that your brain remains healthy, happy and active.
We hope you are aware that cycling regularly can grow your brain the same way it benefits the muscles. When we cycle, the blood that flows to the muscles increases, allowing our bodies to build more capillaries, supplying more blood (and therefore more oxygen) to those muscles. The same process actually occurs in our brains. Cycling allows our cardiovascular system to grow further into our brains, bringing them more oxygen and nutrients that can improve its performance. When we ride our cycles, our brains also increase their production of proteins used for creating new brain cells. By cycling regularly, we actually double (or even triple) new cell production in our brains! It also increases neurotransmitter activity, allowing the regions of our brain to communicate more effectively; therefore, improving our cognitive abilities. The list of benefits that cycling has on our psychological well- being continues. The benefits of cycling are especially important for ageing brains. Cycling regularly helps counter the natural process of the decline of brain function and development as we age. Cycling regularly can keep our minds sharp well in the later years. People of all ages can experience the benefits of cycling on psychological well-being regardless of their physical health. It can improve one’s self-perception and sense of self-worth, resulting in higher self-esteem. The adrenaline released due to cycling regularly makes you stay active all the while and keeps you fresh and helps your brain improve its receptive and cognitive senses. It definitely helps you reciprocate faster and quickens your reflex systems.
The physical benefits of cycling provide more than enough motivation to keep pedalling, but the cognitive benefits take the incentive to a new level. Cycling can improve your brain’s cognition, functioning, and physical structure. It can even slow your brain’s ageing and help it become more efficient by building neurons and growing the Hippocampus. Whether you’re looking to improve your physique, help treat a disease or disorder, boost your brain’s functioning, or just smile a little more, there’s some way that cycling can benefit anyone. It is suggested that you cycle regularly for 30- 40 minutes and that will be enough for your all-round development. Yulu believes in a healthier India, and rents out bicycles at extremely cheap rates for everyone. All you need to do is scan and rent a bicycle using the Yulu app and pedal the change towards a healthier tomorrow.