This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, and the focus this year is loneliness. After everything that’s happened over the last two years, more of us than ever before have felt isolated, but with restrictions lifted and the warmer weather returning, now is a great time to use cycling to reconnect with friends and enjoy the outdoors. So here are five of the many reasons to get back on your bike:
Boost Your Social Life
According to research from the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 4 adults feel lonely some or all of the time. So, send a message to that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with or give them a call to see if they fancy a bike ride this weekend.
You could even join a local cycling club or organised ride and make some new friends. Next time you visit one of our shops, in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Newcastle, or Leeds, feel free to chat to our team about local cycling clubs and we’ll be happy to point you in the direction of a few clubs local to you.
Alternatively, you can check out the British Cycling website, where you’ll find a whole host of guided rides, cycling groups, and women-only rides to choose from.
Build Your Confidence
We all know that regular exercise can help you look good on the outside, but what’s more important is feeling good on the inside. Cycling can be a physical and mental outlet to keep fit while also helping you to streamline your goals. And the more you improve, the better you feel about yourself!
Get Some More Shut Eye
Sleep is so important for replenishing our minds and bodies, but many of us struggle to get even the minimum recommended number of hours for our age. By burning excess energy and providing you with time to be present in the moment, riding your bike means that you can focus on balancing and rotating the pedals instead of all the tasks and worries that race around in your head.
Avoid Cognitive Decline
Experts are now telling us that we need to think about our brain as a muscle and not just as an organ. That means that we need to exercise our brains to keep them healthy, and the best way to do that is to find small ways to challenge yourself. In cyclist terms, this could something as small as learning a new skill, like how to inspect and clean your bike chain, or something as big as a entering a race! The key is to find the right challenges for you and take pride in your achievements.
Power Up Those Endorphins
Aerobic exercise, like cycling, reduces stress by lowering levels of cortisol (aka the stress hormone) while also reducing anxiety by releasing endorphins that make you feel great. Any cyclist will tell you that there is nothing quite like a bike ride to help you wind down after a stressful day!
And in the wise words of Edinburgh’s own, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking”.