It’s been a year full of ups and downs. Recent surveys show that wellbeing in UK households is suffering from the cost-of-living crisis, as people worry about not being able to provide enough for loved ones.
But the increase in fuel prices especially is driving many to switch to cycling as their preferred way of commuting rather than driving or hopping on to a public transport, and the regular physical activity of cycling helps to combat stress, depression and anxiety.
Cycling to work is one of the best ways to improve your wellbeing every day. A study carried out across a number of European cities found that using your bike to get around can help with reducing stress and fighting the feeling of loneliness. The research, conducted by ISGlobal, the Barcelona-based Institute for Global Health, compared different ways of getting around including walking, taking the car or public transport, and concluded that cycling was the number one mode of transport for improving people’s wellbeing.
“Cycling has become increasingly popular, especially throughout the summer months, and it can be a great way to help keep us active” says Alex Bennett, the Head of Marketing at cycleGuard. “But there are many other benefits available from cycling whether it be the impact on the environment or a positive influence on our personal well-being.”
As part of the World Wellbeing Week, leading specialist bike insurer cycleGuard has investigated the mental health benefits of cycling.
So why is cycling so good for us?
Cycling improves your brain power
There is a good reason why studies show that people’s mental skills are improved after a bike ride – it is all to do with the ‘white matter’ in human brains. White matter, found beneath the brain surface, acts as a conduit linking different regions of the brain together - like a cerebral subway system.
Evidence from a 2014 Dutch study over a six-month period showed that people who regularly cycled increased the integrity of their white matter. The increase of which helps your brain function more smoothly, something which is great for any problem-solving you might have to face at work.
Reduce your anxiety
One study has shown that less than an hour of cycling helps the body produce the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA). This is a naturally occurring chemical that helps to regulate many things within the human body, including stress.
Cycling has also been linked with reducing anxiety. A study of almost 300 students found that riding a bike helped reduce signs of anxiety. If you’re struggling with nerves or feel uneasy, then it may be that a good bike ride can help.
Find out more reasons why cycling is good for your well-being:
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