There are many benefits to getting outside and riding your bike any time of year. It goes way beyond the obvious physical benefits, riding your bike can help to elevate your mental and emotional wellbeing. Understanding the benefits that getting out and riding has on your health and wellbeing can help you to handle stresses better when you cannot get outside.
The Physical Benefits of Getting Outside on a Bike
Movement is important for your body. It increases circulation, and respiration while also boosting your metabolism to burn energy and fat.
Without that boost in energy and efficiency, mental clarity and focus can suffer.
Exercise is essential for your body and mind to function at its peak performance level. Cycling has some unique benefits that allow you to really take advantage of what exercise can offer, and it is essential to train outside to get some of these benefits.
Getting outside in the open air and practicing deep breathing opens and clears your lungs. The powerful breathing that cycling regularly develops stretches and strengthens many of your core muscles, opens your chest increasing lung capacity, and helps you to clear accumulated particulate matter from your lungs.
Indoor air quality, unless treated is dramatically worse than outdoor air quality. Getting outside on your bike allows you to take advantage of exercising in the best possible environment for your lungs. Cycling does so much more than that though.
The Mental Benefits of Getting Outside on a Bike
This is highly personal with many different potential answers, and there is overlap between the relative benefits to your physical and emotional health as well. There are some specific mental benefits that getting outside on a bike offers everyone.
Riding your bike is a kind of moving meditation. Many riders will report feeling like this is one of the few times that their mind is quiet. Having a quiet mind allows your brain space to work without having to address your thoughts and feelings as directly.
This space and activity can help your brain to process complex thoughts and ideas while also increasing the supply of blood and oxygen. This basic change in perception and reduction in internal mental stimulus can literally make color brighter and perceptions richer. The creative
afterglow this can induce is very healthy and helpful.
The Emotional Benefits of Getting Outside on a Bike
If the mental benefits of getting outside on your bike are highly personal, the emotional ones are even more so. There are so many different potential causes of emotional stimulus and how we react to them is highly individual. No matter who you are or what level of athlete you are the emotional benefits of getting outside on your bike are much the same though.
Living an engaged life has become a popular term, and in many respects it can help you to address the uniqueness of the moment. Feeling engaged, locked in, or focused would likely rank high on the list of potential benefits of cycling to many riders. What is interesting is that much of the emotional benefit derived from getting outside on your bike might be what is disengaged.
Physical, mental or emotional stresses cause difficulty and illness. The effect on your body and wellbeing can be overwhelming. Any stress or pain is a depressant to your body and moods. Movement and physical activity help to eliminate those stimuli, even if just for a time.
The key to this process is proprioception or the awareness of the position and movement of the body. Nerve impulse from proprioception travels faster than pain signals, out competing them for the use of the nerve pathways. So much like the ability of cycling to clear your mind of
thoughts, it can also clear your mind of your perception of different physical pains.
The benefits of getting outside on a bike are many, weaving through the fabric of your existence. There is no real definition in the borders between the physical, mental and emotional benefits of riding a bike outdoors. It gives us so much and asks relatively little from us in return.
It is an honor and a privilege to be part of something so great.