Most of us are looking for happiness in our lives. The things causing us to be unhappy include depression, stress, and being overweight to name a few. What a lot of us don’t realize is that there is a way to combat those items; we can bike our way to happiness.
We’ve all heard that exercise is a key component to a happy life by providing many health benefits including reduced stress levels, better mood, and better sleep. You can choose to run, walk, do yoga, or any other type of exercise you like. Biking is one of the many great ways to exercise and clear your mind.
I have taken up biking within the past couple of years and I find I’m much happier after a bike ride. It’s my time to disconnect from technology and enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes I talk through my life goals with my riding partner and other times we enjoy the sounds of nature and nothing else.
In addition to the stress reduction I feel stronger and more confident after a bike ride. I’ve increased my speed and distance over time and found that I’m a fairly decent biker. Since my skill level was beginner when I started I have impressed myself with my improvement; it’s a self-esteem booster for me.
Outside of my own personal benefits there are many documented mental and physical benefits to bike riding. Let’s take a look at a few.
Improved Mental Health – Bowling Green State University released a study showing an improved mood in both men and women who biked for as little as 10 minutes as compared to a similar sedentary group. Aerobic exercise, like biking, can help your mental state by lessening feelings of depression, some say as well as anti-depressants, resulting in a happier you.
Stress Relief - Biking, as with any exercise, has been shown to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety in a person. Exercise releases endorphins into your system, giving you the “exercise or runner’s high”. It also lowers the cortisol in your system which means a lowered stress response while enhancing your well being.
Weight Loss – Biking is an aerobic activity; you’re burning calories during and after your ride. As you move more you’ll also find an increase in energy. More energy means more movement, resulting in a faster metabolism that’s burning more calories. Biking for exercise is also less intimidating for a lot of people compared to going to the gym or jogging down the street.
These are just a few of the benefits to bike riding. The key with biking, or any exercise, is to get started. Once you do you’ll find that your attitude improves, your clothes fit a bit better, and your overall happiness increases. Who couldn’t use a little more happiness in their life?
Do you like biking? Have you found that you feel happier after a good bike ride, or any exercise session? Let’s hear it!