We all know that cycling makes us feel good. It’s good for the body, and it’s good for our minds. We’ve put our heads together to come up with why we love it so much. If we had to boil it down to just one sentence, it’s because cycling can give you a buzz, allows us to engage in the great outdoors and lets us get away from it all for a few hours.
Here’s our top 5 reasons for why we love getting out on a bike.
1. The anticipation
Don’t you love the thought of being on the bike almost as much as being on it? Going for a ride is something we look forward to, whether it’s once a week, or every day. Cycling for the fun of it is something that makes you smile just planning it.
Then there’s the prep – we enjoy choosing our route, deciding how many miles to go, or for how long we’ll be out. We enjoy the checklist we go through before we get on the bike – weather, checked, tyres checked, water, checked – Off we go!
2. Being outdoors
When you’re outside, you can get a sense of perspective, literally. There are no walls restricting your vision and you can see more than a few feet ahead. Everything else that’s happening in your life, falls into perspective as you feel part of the world. You’re connected to the seasons. You have a sense of time, whether it’s Spring unfolding or autumn bringing out the colours.
Research has shown the benefits being in the great outdoors have – whether walking, running, cycling or something else. Just being in the fresh air can improve your mood, reduce stress and help your self esteem. (Mind.Org.UK)
3. Stress Busting and Anxiety Reducing
Mindfulness is all about being aware of the moment and what your senses are telling you. Cycling outdoors engages all your senses during the ride.
Your eyes are on the road ahead, seeing all kinds of scenery, whether it’s the street buildings or the rolling hills. The smells of city, town or countryside, of rain or mud tell you where you are. The sensation of the wind, rain and sun on your skin (sometimes all at the same time) makes you feel alive. The sound of the tyres on the road, the gear change, the birds in the trees help build the memories of the ride. The feedback from the pedals, your muscles telling you you’re working hard, remind you what you’re doing. All your senses are working, you feel connected to the world and it feels good. We’re itching to hop on our bikes just reading that!
There’s also the escapism – because you’re in the moment, of focusing on the climb, or the road, it gives you a break from other things that might be on your mind. Sometimes, you’re so focused on cycling, there’s no room for anything else.
Exercise is good for the body, but it’s always fantastic for the mind. There are growing reports on the positive impact aerobic exercise such as running and cycling have on managing anxiety and lowering the risk of depression. Why? Because physical exercise can reduce tension and stress, improve sleep, and can give you goals, as well as giving you that sense of satisfaction. (Anxietyuk.org.uk)
4. The exercise
Exercise is good for the body and good for the mind. Health benefits of regular cycling include contributing to our cardiovascular fitness and can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and stroke (NHS.uk). The great thing is, you can choose the route and pace depending on your own fitness and your own goals.
Cycling can also be a great part of a mixed programme of training, especially for endurance events.
Whilst cycling is reasonably low impact, if you need to take the strain off your joints, an e-bike can be the perfect solution – you can switch to battery power when you need a little help, but get all the benefits of being outdoors.
5. The afterglow
Your muscles may feel tired, the weather may have changed halfway through the ride, but you come back and you feel good. You’ve achieved something. Whether it’s getting in your miles, working towards a fitness goal, smashed your goal or you’ve managed to get away from it all for a few hours, you’ve done it. You feel proud, you’ve accomplished what you set out to do and you’re already thinking of the next goal.
So, what are you waiting for? Hop on your bike, and enjoy the ride!