Thanks to biking, over the years, I’ve gotten better at doing so -- and science even proves it.
Cycling helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus – the “grey matter” in your head that involves muscle control, sensory perception like seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control. Sadly, this region deteriorates from the age of 30.
Luckily, regular physical activity can help keep thinking, learning and judgment sharp. Aerobic exercise helps maintain adequate blood flow, which supplies the brain with a steady stream of oxygen and nutrients (things we need).
And, in fact, researchers 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.
In other words: cycling is more than physically healthy for you. It makes your brain work better.
The thing is, we don’t always need science to tell us what we feel.
Sure, I’ve had some foibles, but riding has improved my instincts and my reflexes. This translates into how I am in life: I’m trying to figure it all out, while staying the course. I’m increasingly aware of my surroundings, the people, and the nature (if limited) around me. I see how things work, and don’t work together. I’m trying to survive. Ideally, I’m smiling.
When I’m on the road bumping elbows (or pedals) with cars, trucks, pedestrians, crossing guards, and pigeons--all sharing some torn up asphalt for a short bit of time--I am most definitely woke.
So, while I may be just a teensy bit nuts to get on a bike everyday in a city known for its, shall we say, aggression, the fact of the grey matter is that both my body and my brain are in great shape.