What’s your idea of relaxing? Is it sitting on the couch for hours while watching a movie on Netflix and snacking on popcorn? Or is it laying down while talking to your friends, family, or significant other on the phone? Or simply listening to music while doing a hobby or playing games? All these are good ways to relax your body, mind, and heart from all the negative stressors from work and life in general.
But here’s another suggestion for you: Why not start cycling? Get up and ride the bike! Nothing beats physical activity to calm the nerves.
And ever since the pandemic has hit the world, we are reminded time and time again that maintaining a healthy mind and body, and of course cleanliness, wearing masks and social distancing can help us prevent contracting the virus. Moreover, after spending too much time indoors due to community lockdowns and quarantine, a safe practice to still enjoy the outdoors is through cycling.
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healthy fit man rides his mountainbike outdoors, carefree bicycle fitness[/caption]
Cycling develops a healthy body
When cycling all forms of muscles are in use--arms, back, thighs, buttocks, and core muscles. Thus, it helps in circulating the blood in your body as well as strengthening your core muscles. You get the same benefits from other activities like walking and running, but with greater rewards, as you can travel more lengths when cycling as it is easier to use your feet by pedaling rather than carrying your whole weight in your feet. Because of the benefits cycling brings to the cardiovascular system, cyclists are less likely to acquire high blood pressure or heart diseases.
Regular working out like cycling helps in maintaining a lean body as it is an overall physical workout that involves almost every part of the body, which is a great exercise for burning calories and preventing obesity problems. Cycling raises your metabolic rate, which when combined with a healthy eating plan, could be an excellent way to lose weight naturally and healthily. It is an exercise that builds muscle and burns fat.
Cycling boosts brain capacity
Activities such as cycling, which requires balance, quick reaction, and decision-making skills may help with an individual’s focus and concentration, according to a study conducted by Vanderbilt University. Participants who engaged in the exercise were “40 percent more likely to solve a puzzle than idle participants.”
Another research from the University of Illinois “found that a five percent improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15 percent in mental tests.” Cycling can be an activity that can help in creating new brain cells in the hippocampus, which is directly involved in boosting our memory capacity.
In another study, cycling can help prevent the elderly from developing Alzheimer’s. In 2007, Charles Hillman studied that the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain when cycling regenerates receptors that aid in staving off the disease.
Cycling reduces stress
Generally, any kind of physical exercise can help manage and reduce stress. And cycling is no exception. But what gives cycling a major advantage is that you get to travel and explore your surroundings. And you can breathe in more natural and fresher air compared to just staying indoors such as at home and gyms, where the main source of air is from the AC or small windows. Seeing a new environment from time to time brought by traveling by pedaling on bicycles is good for our mental health, even more so during this time that we are spending more time indoors. Cycling gets you to explore more spaces--and even your neighborhood that you did not get to explore by foot or by car pre-pandemic since you are almost always on the same route going to the office or school.
Cycling can break the routines that we aimlessly do every day, which can add to the stress that is building up. You may develop an early to bed early to rise habit as you would want to hit off your bike before starting your day or cycle to your favorite coffee shop before clocking into work. Early morning exercise can awaken your mind easier. And this will help in becoming productive. Soaking in Vitamin D during the early morning rides helps me have a positive mood throughout the day.
Cycling helps foster relationships
First, it helps build confidence and self-esteem within yourself as cycling teaches you to trust yourself for you to get the pedal going. Second, cycling is a great way to bond with your family and friends. Just get the free time of everyone and then cycle in the nearest hillside or plainviews. You can also enjoy the view, the snacks during the cycling break in-betweens.
Cycling can also help you expand your social circle. Nowadays, it is easy to spot and join a cycling group. There are numerous community groups you can find on social media that will cater to your interests and queries.
One example of a query that I find most helpful in finding a bicycle rack that can fit perfectly in my garage. As when I was still starting cycling, I just used to park my bike in the garage by leaning it on the wall. I did not know that it could be bad for your bikes. So, in the help group, I posted this question and many have recommended Fleximounts BR1 Wall Mount Bike Rack.
Not only do these cycling groups have helped me with my cycling journey, the friends I made through this, have been very helpful in easing the pandemic stresses by having cycling meet-ups and bonding activities.