My life has been a whirlwind of change and flux, but one thing that has remained a constant in my life is my bike. I have always had a bicycle and have ridden it for years as a means of exercise, relaxation, escape and adventure.
I’ve found that a good bike ride helps clear my head and rid me of stress. It’s a simple solution that works for me, every time. Here are a few of the reasons why I believe bike riding is the best stress reliever — and why you should give it a try.
1. It’s Easy And Fun
Riding a bike is one of those rare activities that makes you feel young again, magically transporting you back to your childhood. It almost feels effortless — unlike some other sports, cycling does not require high levels of physical skill. Most people know how to ride a bike and, once you learn, you don’t forget. Because it’s so easy and has that nostalgia factor, riding a bike induces carefree, happy feelings. Whether I’m getting my endorphins pumping by riding fast and hard, or I’m taking a leisurely ride around the neighbourhood, I’m stimulated by the movement and the beautiful outdoors.
2. It Gets Those Endorphins Flowing
No matter what type of bike you ride or how far you go, breaking a small sweat can do wonders for your energy levels. It doesn’t really matter how expensive of a bike you have (although a newer one is definitely easier to ride); the main idea is that you are getting the benefits of exercise, without even realizing it! Some people enjoy the option of using a stationary bike at a gym, and that’s fine too, especially in the winter months where going outside is no longer an option.
3. It Clears Your Head
Stress is something that gets to everyone, and it can happen for many reasons. Maybe you’ve gone through a breakup recently, or a big project at work is stressing you out. Whatever it is that’s troubling you, getting out of the house and going for a ride is a great way to get away from it all. With the wind in your ears and the pavement beneath you, it’s easy to tune out all the noise and simply focus on the road ahead. You may not realize it, but cycling can sometimes be a form of mindfulness, and being present in the moment.
4. It Makes You Stronger
An added benefit to riding is how it affects your body. Having strong, powerful legs and glutes can improve your every day life tremendously, by helping you climb stairs, run to catch the bus, or perform other, everyday physical movements with total ease. Cycling builds up strength in your ankles, shins, calves, thighs and butt, as well as your back, neck, shoulders, arms and core — and all with one simple, gentle movement. The best part? Cycling is very low-impact, high-reward, which means you’ll work your entire body without putting unnecessary pressure on your joints. Feeling physically and mentally strong means you’ll feel more capable overall, and more able to take on life’s challenges.
5. It Promotes Longevity
Riding a bike improves your overall health, physically and mentally — and this is especially important as you age. Just think of all the health benefits — increased cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and flexibility, improved joint mobility, decreased stress levels, improved posture and coordination, strengthened bones, reduced anxiety and depression, just to name a few. Incorporating a form of exercise that you enjoy into your daily routine can help you live a longer, happier life. And what is more stress-free than that?
Cycling is not only an easy way to stay physically fit, but can help you mentally deal with whatever challenge life throws your way as well. The next time you’re feeling sad or overwhelmed, grab your helmet, hop on your bike and ride it out.