Exercise is usually associated with physical benefits, from improved heart health to lowered cholesterol and enhanced breathing. However, aerobic exercise can have a range of physiological benefits, with reduced levels of anxiety, depression, and negative mood being some of the top reported benefits.
In this article we look at how both indoor and outdoor cycling can have a positive impact on your mental health and well-being and reduce symptoms of loneliness.
A number of studies over the past years have revealed that cycling, and exercise in general, can have a range of psychological benefits. A UK study found that 82% of the individuals who cycled to work as part of a cycle scheme were less stressed in the office, with 74% noticing an increase in their wellbeing and 67% feeling more productive and happier.
The associated psychological benefits of cycling can be achieved regardless of whether you are using a bike on the roads or an exercise bike in the comfort of your own home.
Cycling releases hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, which are associated with reduced levels of stress and anxiety. By releasing these hormones you are in more control of your emotions. With stress often being a trigger for other mental health issues, it is important to actively try and combat stress wherever possible.
Regular exercise can boost your mood and ease symptoms of depression. As cycling is low-impact it is a form of exercise that is accessible for the majority of us. Exercise should be something you enjoy, otherwise it can become difficult to stay motivated. As a result, it is important to find a route or cycling class that you like. As well as reduced anxiety, stress and depression, cycling can also help you to feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memory, and have a more positive outlook on yourself and your life.
With this year’s mental health awareness week focusing on raising awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental health, we wanted to shed light on how cycling, both indoor and outdoor, can help to reduce feelings of loneliness.
Whilst you can cycle solo, you can also choose to cycle in a more social setting. If you are cycling outdoors there are a number of cycling groups and events across the UK that you could get involved in, including HSBC UK Lets Ride, Ride Social and HSBC UK Breeze Rides.
However, if you prefer the convenience and comfort of cycling from the comfort of your own home on an exercise bike, you do not have to do it alone. At Echelon we have a virtual community unlike any other, where you can compete against other riders during live and on-demand cycling classes on the Echelon Fit app.
You can also join our Official Facebook Community for 24/7 support. Why not share a sweaty selfie or let us know how you’re getting along!
With a wide selection of exercise bikes and a vast range of on-demand and live cycling classes on the Echelon app, you can start your cycling journey around your busy schedule. Find out what Echelon UK instructors Demi and Sage had to say about their own experiences with fitness, mental health and how they manage their wellbeing here.
Lastly, we would recommend speaking to your GP if you are struggling with any of the conditions discussed in this article or contact the Samaritans on 116 123 for emergency support.