For those of us old enough to remember Rachel Leigh and her infamous frying pan in the 1990's anti-drug PSA, we learned a valuable lesson- drugs fry your brain (or so they say, right?). In the spirit of those positive intentions we laid out in early '16, we're looking to continue our personal growth, and since we are talking cycling- our muscle growth.
The most important muscle of all, our brainius maximus, benefits highly from our favorite sport. Improvements linked to cycling include better memory retention, decreased stress levels, and increased productivity. We all think cycling is the bee's knee's, so here are a few more reasons to justify the 20 degree, ump-teen layered rides we love to endure.
Stress and anxiety relief
Life can sometimes get the best of us, and in those moments of anxiety, it may seem like nothing will help. Research has shown that vigorous activity helps to reduce anxiety, fear, and sensitivity symptoms. When one exercises regularly, they are less likely to develop anxiety disorders or depression.
Prolonged activity, such as cycling, wakes up the endorphin's in your nervous system and can provide feelings of euphoria. Just like a "runner's high", cycling contributes to the positive mood modulators in your life. As we continue to ride, our moods will improve, both on and off the bike.
Be productive, B-E- productive!
While procrastination is one of the most infamous excuses worldwide, when regularly riding a bike, it may become mute. Cycling energizes the brain and the body, leading to an increase in your productivity. Your ability to formulate ideas, provide input, and make sensible choices are heightened and the increased stimulation will lessen feelings of sluggishness and fatigue.
Ever had the best sleep after a long ride? (Yea, me too.) Cycling lessens the amount of cortisol (the hormone responsible for stress) in the body which often keeps us from falling into a deep sleep. Regularly riding a bike is said to help synchronize your natural body rhythms and improve your sleep capacity.
The hippocampus controls long-term and spatial memory, and just like the rest of your muscles, it grows with exercise. Cycling provides the brain with the stimulation needed to produce more cells in the hippocampus, thereby growing it's size and retention capability. Cognitive functioning, which is directly related to diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia, is stayed with regular exercise.
You may be tired after a long ride, but the feeling of accomplishment is radiant. That confidence in your ability and physical agility makes you feel sexier and people definitely take notice. The rise in blood oxygen levels that occur from high aerobic activity produces feelings of intense well-being and increased sexual vitality. Added bonus- those powerful leg, buttock and lower back muscles that cycling builds are all the muscles used during intercourse. The better developed these muscles, the longer and more athletic intercourse will be.
All in all, cycling can lead to an improvement in mental clarity, memory function, and sexual drive. . . not bad for a pole in the butt.
Anyone down for winter riding? Because I'm sold!
Think of any other mental health benefits of cycling? Let us know below!