How healthy is cycling really?
The fact that cycling is healthy will not be news to anyone here. Blood circulation, fresh air, exercise, of course it's good for us and our bodies. But in what way exactly? And how can cycling also help us psychologically to overcome crises? Today we're taking a closer, more scientific look at the health benefits of cycling. Which doesn't mean that there's no room left for the small and very big stories of those for whom cycling really was a lifesaver.
1. excursion into sports medicine
Just two to four hours of cycling a week is enough to achieve significant improvements in his/her general health. Diseases such as osteoarthritis or Parkinson's disease can even be alleviated in their course by spending a lot of time on the bike. However, we will spare you now too medical and technical language derivations, but instead work off a short list of health benefits, because cycling:
- is low-impact: Cycling is relatively easy on the joints, which means fewer strains and other injuries than other sports. Plus point: Healthy joints are more mobile.
- is a good muscle workout: those who pedal work all the important muscle groups and thus train evenly and effectively. The result? Stronger muscles, better endurance, more stretch and flexibility, and better posture.
- promotes our blood circulation: this in turn prevents many cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attacks or cardiac arrhythmias.
- makes us sleep better: thanks to a better perfused brain, which also improves our concentration, reduces the likelihood of depression and anxiety disorders, and lowers our stress levels.
2. cycling against Alzheimer
Speaking of concentration and mental health, cycling is actually said to have a positive effect on dementia and Alzheimer's disease. On a bike, the brain is challenged; you wind your way through the urban jungle or over rooty forest paths, always having to have all your sensors sharpened in order to process traffic situations, surroundings, sounds and all other impressions. And that at an average speed of 23 km/h. Cycling is therefore also a performance sport for the brain and this is a proven preventive force against Alzheimer's disease. In addition, spending time on the bike also prevents other risk factors of the neurodegenerative disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity, lack of sleep, depression or too little social participation (after all, little is as inspiring as a group ride).
Something else changes in our brain when we bike a lot. The fresh air changes our brain structure. Researchers:inside the German Max Planck Institute found that our brain structure improves the more time we spend in the fresh air, regardless of the level of physical activity or sun exposure. More gray matter, better mood, better short-term memory - all reasons to treat yourself to a little bike ride today.
3. therapy on or also with the bike
For some years now, the American family and couples therapist Joey Dolowy has been taking advantage of these many psychological benefits. His offer: psychotherapy on a mountain bike. He got the idea from a patient who simply couldn't sit still. The two took a walk through a nearby parking lot instead, and Dolowy quickly realized that the fresh air and physical activity got the conversation flowing much better. An avid mountain biker, he decided shortly thereafter to take outdoor therapy one step further, onto the trails.
One of his patients, a former cyclist, reports that the genius of Dolowy's therapy method is that the routes and the course of the conversation are often coordinated. Thus, a problem or uncertainty is tackled on the way uphill; just before the summit, an attempt is made to reach a realization or solution. The psychic high of this released tension is then further enriched by the great sense of freedom on the downhill jumps: the therapeutic powers of cycling, then, coupled with the therapeutic powers of.... well - a therapist.
The former can also be a true psychological support for some all on its own. There are people like Mark DeLong and his wife, who lost their son to cancer, escaped (and saved) themselves from the pain into triathlon, and met an oncologist at Ironman in Hawaii who would cure Mark himself of his cancer relapse a few years later. There's a young dancer who lost himself in his alcohol addiction and found the support in the cycling community that helped him face and overcome his withdrawal. A young mother who was depressed and addicted to drugs, who for the sake of her daughter at one point forced herself to climb on her peloton trainer for 15 minutes a day, and through this experience of self-efficacy found the way out of her misfortune. An orphan whose blue fixie means the world to him to this day as a symbol of his psychological healing, nor a young cancer patient who was able to recall her strength on a bicycle, the list goes on and on. Whether illnesses, losses or personal low blows, the way back to the bike or onto it for the first time was of transformative importance for many.
So the title of this blog post is not as exaggerated as it seems at first glance. Cycling saves: our blood circulation, our fitness, our concentration, our sleep and sometimes our entire happiness. We at buycycle believe in this (sorry, it's getting cheesy one last time) power of cycling, after all it's our passion! So if you have any questions about your (new) bike, our team is always available for you, take a look at our blog for more tips, tricks and stories and at our website for your new used dream bike. Until then we wish you as always: Happy browsing, happy cycling!