The Mental and Emotional Health Benefits of Indoor Cycling
There is little doubt that indoor cycling offers mental and emotional health benefits in addition to its obvious physical benefits. Mental and emotional health can be quite fragile at times. Now more than ever, indoor cycling is important to us and our guests.
Have you ever wondered about the mental and emotional benefits of indoor cycling? If so, this post is for you. Most of the benefits described below are common to all sorts of exercise. But we have included one that we think is unique to the indoor cycling community.
Exercise the Brain
Very few people know that exercising the body also exercises the brain. When you exercise, you increase blood flow to every part of your body. That includes the gray matter between your ears. Increased blood flow promotes more capillary beds that form new blood vessels. New blood vessels mean more oxygen, which encourages brain cells to be more active.
It all leads to more proteins, more neurons, more neurotransmitters, etc. Your brain actually becomes stronger, just like your muscles. A stronger brain functions faster and better. And by the way, this is not just our opinion. Scientific studies have proved it.
Exercise increases the production of certain brain chemicals, including serotonin and dopamine. According to a study out of Duke University, just 20 minutes of exercise per day can increase serotonin and dopamine levels enough to prevent long-term depression. Scientists do not fully understand why at this point, but the science has been proved by multiple studies.
Relieving Stress and Anxiety
The same studies also show that 20 to 30 minutes of exercise can increase brain chemicals like endorphins and cannabinoids. When those chemicals are active in the brain, people seem to be better at coping with stress and anxiety. The chemicals have even been shown to relieve stress and anxiety in people who exercise regularly as compared to those who do not.
The stress issue must be tempered with the fact that exercise is, in itself, somewhat stressful. Understand that it is possible to exercise too much. The end result would be more negative effects than positive ones. That is one of the reasons we encourage new indoor cyclists to start slowly.
Indoor cycling is not just good for the body, but great for the mind and boosts mental and emotional health in riders!