Cycling not only keeps you physically fit, it is also good for our mental health – in many different areas, as studies show. We show why cycling can help against anxiety, stress and anger.

Cycling has many advantages. You are out in the fresh air, ideally in nature. In the city, you can often get to your destination quicker than by car and you don’t have to look for a parking space. You save money, protect the environment and keep yourself physically fit. But did you also know how good cycling can be for our psyche?

For example, cycling regularly can help you reduce stress, become more self-confident or have fewer fears. According to current scientific knowledge, cycling can be a great help in at least five mental problem areas. Even if you currently feel mentally healthy, cycling can help you stay that way, as the positive preventive effect has also been well researched.

1. Cycling can help reduce and prevent anxiety

We live in a time of multiple crises that scare many of us. The good news is that you can actively do something about this fear. According to science, endurance training such as cycling reduces the reactivity of the sympathetic nervous system and, to put it simply, makes us less sensitive to stressors such as anxiety, etc. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) plays a key role in these mechanisms. It regulates the release of stress hormones, which can lead to an increase in feelings of anxiety and panic. Those who cycle regularly can reduce this sensitivitysay researchers.

In addition, moderate endurance training leads to a increased release of happiness hormones such as dopamineThis activation of the reward system in our brain also helps us feel more balanced and satisfied.

2. Cycling can help you boost your self-confidence

Can cycling make you more self-confident? At least that’s what some studies suggest. For a study from 2014, for example, 27 people were recruited. Eleven participants did not change their daily routine, while the other 16 did 10 endurance training sessions of at least 30 minutes each over a period of three weeks. They could either run, cycle indoors or train on an elliptical trainer.

The result: After three weeks, the more active test subjects consistently reported feeling better in the recognized self-esteem test, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES). to feel more confident than the control group. Due to the small number of test subjects, the scientific significance of the experiment is limited. However, there are other studies that link physical activity with increased self-confidence. It is therefore likely that a similar effect also occurs in cyclists.

Cycling outside could have an additional positive effect on self-confidence. Because with a bike you can quickly and easily discover new areas, achieve your own goals and gain new impressions – all experiences of success that can boost our self-confidence.

3. Cycling can reduce stress

A study by the University of Zurich showed that cycling can help to reduce stress and improve our well-being. The almost 9,000 people surveyed stated that when they cycled to their daily destinations, feel less stressedThis is mainly because cycling helps us reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

Play a positive role in stress reduction, according to the researchers, but also the regular, cyclical pedaling movements when cyclingThey increase the activity of our parasympathetic nervous system and thus have a calming effect on our mind. We stay more in the moment, in this case cycling, worry less and ruminate less.

Of course, this stress reduction works better if you cycle in a relaxed environment – being out and about in the city during rush hour is less helpful, so it’s better to choose a nice route into the countryside.

4. Cycling can help relieve depression

Both the reduction in our cortisol levels and the consistent pedaling motion when cycling can not only reduce stress, but can also help people with depression. This is what a study by the University of Tübingen suggests. The researchers had older people with depression ride an ergometer for a good 30 minutes. Before and after the bike ride, the Blood values ​​measuredwhich play a central role in the development of depression.

While these values ​​of depressed people before endurance exercise were worse than those of healthy control subjects, they had after the 30-minute bike ride normalized in almost all study participants.

5. Cycling can help against anger

Anger is a destructive feeling – internally and externally – and is not good for our psyche. When we feel it, we need an outlet to let it out and thus reduce the pressure we feel. Cycling can help us with this. Through exercise, we reduce stress hormones and give our body the chance to actively do something.

Several studies suggest that Endurance sports such as cycling can reduce feelings of angerFor example, researchers who conducted a study with children found that those who did 40 minutes of endurance exercise a day felt and acted out less anger than the control groups who did little or no exercise.

Cycling away from anger – this is not only a good idea for our psyche, it can also protect our heartAs scientists at Columbia University in New York City discovered in a recently published study, even brief fits of anger can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. So that’s another reason to get on your bike regularly.

Please read our notice on health issues.

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