Bikes Make Us Happy: 8 Reasons
Does the bike make us feel good and happy? What are the benefits of cycling? I have always believed that the well-being given by physical activity is stronger than melancholy, that winter blues that takes us, in winter, when it is dark and cold.
Cycling is good: cycling reduces the effects of depression both in those who suffer from it alone for 2 weeks and in chronically depressed people, who have been suffering from the disease for at least 2 years. A result of which is the anti-inflammatory cytokines, the message-carrying proteins that link the brain, body, and behavior.
It will be a coincidence? In these countries, the values of the 6 key variables that support well-being were high: income, the expectation of a healthy life, social support, freedom, trust, and generosity. It is up to you to decide which of these values the bicycle is well connected to. In any case, on this day in the middle of winter, I like to think of a list of very personal reasons why cycling is good for you.
Benefits: 8 reasons why the bike is good for you
1. Cycling is good because it frees the mind
when other tasks would like to hold us back. Contact with air sweeps away thoughts. The alternation between aerobic and anaerobic respiration as well. The simple and repetitive pedaling mechanism allows the mind to “unhook” and wander. It always takes maximum attention, of course, but the structure is fixed and known. The trio frame, handlebars, and pedals support us. And the thought can fly away.
2. Pedaling is good because it makes us feel like hunting
Cycling is one of the few sports that make you go far, to seek. It also seems that the act of pedaling is linked to an evolutionary legacy that is still well rooted: it derives from the primordial instinct to explore the territory to seek sustenance, the seeking system.
The production of feel-good hormones, while pedaling, creates a drive/reward cycle that leads to continuing. A little ‘drugs us … After all, it seems that our evolutionary vocation does not go in the direction of sinking into the sofa at home, but of persistent hunting. To each his prey-goal. And the related benefits.
3. Riding a bike teaches moderation
Neurologists claim that 30-60 minutes of continuous, brisk pedaling is enough to grasp all the benefits. The feel-good effect due to the spike in endorphins and neurotransmitters takes over when we train at 60-80% of our heart capacity. Pushing hard or just pedaling around the block won’t do. Put simply, if you can get to 10, stay on 7. The bike is what makes you discover the pace and the threshold.
The key is to feel challenged, but not overwhelmed. Conversely, if we are stimulated beyond our capabilities, the body begins to produce adrenaline. This creates anxiety that fills the neuroreceptors that are supposed to absorb other substances such as dopamine. Go by bike but therefore be tender with yourself. Your brain will be grateful to you. And the body will treasure all the benefits of pedaling.
Those who love to climb on a bicycle know what I’m talking about: they accept the fatigue by postponing the satisfaction of reaching the step or the goal. Cyclists who love the climbs perceive discomfort not as an element of self-sabotage, but as part of the game. In case of lack of motivation, not wanting to reach the end of the climb or not wanting to bear the fatigue?
Pay attention to your thoughts, because they become words.
Pay attention to your words, because they become your actions.
Pay attention to your actions, because they become habits.
Pay attention to your habits, because they become your character.
Pay attention to your character, because it becomes your destiny.
4. The bicycle is good because it makes you discover your tribe
We all seek, more or less consciously, the tribe of friendly souls. Even without bothering the soul, all of us, or at least the majority, are looking for friends with whom to share passions and interests. Riding a bicycle in a group is a great aggregator.
5 Makes you travel
You can go far by bike. Sniffing, exploring, observing, touching, chatting. Behind every curve, an unexpected spectacle can open, an encounter, a gust of perfume. Do we want to ride a bike or be overwhelmed by the stench of fuel that envelops us when we open every aircraft door? Better to be cycle travelers around the world.
6. Teaches to pack light luggage
Where do I put the lipstick? I asked this question to an expert in bike packing, the art of mounting functional and tailored bags on the bicycle frame. The question surprised him, but it didn’t catch him off guard. Those who travel by bike learn the hard way that luggage should be kept to a minimum. Especially on big climbs.
7. Keeps you fit and healthy
Tired and low on energy? Go out by bike! It may seem like a paradox but physical exercise kills fatigue and heals. Pedaling at intervals, with fast repetitions, awakens the metabolism, as I write in this article. On the health benefits, I will not dwell. I need to cite medical research whose reliability I cannot swear. It is true that since I ride a bike even in winter, I don’t get sick anymore. A completely personal event, but which, winter after winter, is repeated.
8. Makes you feel at peace with the planet
It takes 20 bicycles to fill the space occupied by a parked car. And just 5% of the materials and energy needed to build a car to make a bicycle. Furthermore, bikes produce zero pollution and are the most efficient and fastest means of urban travel: three times faster than walking. I don’t know about you, but so I feel a little more at peace. And a little happier.
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