It’s well-known that cycling is good for staying fit, but it’s also hugely beneficial to our general well-being too!
What is Well-being?
Well-being can take on many forms; physical well-being, mental & emotional well-being and social well-being. In some ancient philosophies such as the Māori philosophy of Hauora, well being is also linked to our relationship to the land. Meanwhile, the dictionary definition of well-being is simply: “the state of feeling healthy and happy” but how can this be achieved through cycling?
Healthy Body – Physical Well-being
There are countless physical health benefits to cycling, the most obvious being increased cardiovascular fitness and improved control of blood pressure which come from practising most endurance sports. In addition, regular cycling can also improve sleep, studies have shown that as little as 20-30 minutes of cycling every other day can have a positive effect on sleep quality, which is vital to maintaining mental as well as physical health. Cycling is also likely to lead to increased energy in day-to-day tasks thanks to improved muscular strength and stamina.
An additional physical benefit of cycling is that it is a low-impact sport meaning that even those who are prone to injury from higher-impact sports such as running can ride their bikes with peace of mind.
A Healthy Mind From Bike Rides
Of course, physical and mental well-being are intrinsically linked, taking care of your body is proven to go hand-in-hand with mental health and it is well-known that exercise releases endorphins or happy hormones, but it isn’t just the physical aspect of cycling which can improve mental well-being.
A solo bike ride can be a great way to get some mental breathing-space and is a chance to unwind and spend a few hours of undisturbed ‘you time’. Time alone on the bike can often have a meditative effect leaving you feeling cleansed of worries and stress.
Cycling can also be a great self-esteem boost from the satisfaction of completing a tough challenge, increased fitness or learning a new skill, although it’s important not to fall into the trap of attaching too much self-worth into fitness achievements – maintaining balance is key!
Cycling can be an incredibly social sport and is a way to connect with lots of people from all walks of life. Be it through a club or a team, or even a cycling vacation, it’s easy to make life-long connections through the cycling community.
Of course, it’s also a great way to give back to others by teaching skills to newcomers, volunteering at events organising group rides or even raise funds for a charity. Of course, all of these interconnect to add to improved mental and overall well-being.
Connection to the Land
In contrast to driving a car, riding a bike leaves you exposed to the elements and slower speeds mean that you have more opportunity to take in your surroundings and connect to nature. Cycling also gives you an appreciation for the structure of the land as you are more aware of undulations and changes in the road or trail, thus connecting you more closely to the land which some cultures consider to be a key element of well-being.
How Has Cycling Changed Your Life?
How does cycling improve your well-being? We’d love to hear how cycling has changed your life – Tweet us @eat_sleep_cycle or drop an email to [email protected].
Motivated to ride? Why not book yourself a cycling holiday and take advantage of all of these amazing benefits whilst in a stunning European location, browse our tours to find the perfect one for you!
P.S. Enjoyed this blog? Why not sign up to receive notifications every time we post and get regular updates on our latest tours!