8 Mental Health Benefits of Cycling

8 Mental Health Benefits of Cycling

You might already be familiar with the physical benefits of cycling: It burns fat, builds muscle, and improves cardio. However, the benefits of cycling extend far beyond what it can do for your body.

“In addition to building strength and cardiovascular endurance, cycling can help to boost your mood and overall mental health,” explains BODi cycling trainer Justin Flexen, CPT, who has a decade of training experience under his belt.

For those looking to boost their emotional well-being through cycling, Flexen suggests that beginners aim for two or three rides per week while experienced riders should aim for three or four.

Here’s a peek at eight of the unbeatable mental health benefits of cycling.

1. Could Boost Your Mood

Woman in Sunny Gym on Exercise Bikes

Researchers have different theories on why exercise improves mood, but they all agree that it does.

Maybe it’s the endorphins (more on those later). Perhaps it’s the sense of mastery and self-efficiency that tackling a challenging workout can give you. Whatever’s behind it, the phenomenon is real.

2. Proves Your Boundaries Wrong

“There is something about being on a bike that allows you to work harder than you think you can,” says Flexen. And research has found that you work harder than you think you are during indoor cycling classes.

For those reasons, consistently getting on the bike may improve your concept of what you can and cannot handle.

3. Helps Boost Confidence

Woman Stares Ahead While Cycling | Mental Benefits of Cycling

There’s nothing like tackling a difficult ride to make you feel capable. “Cycling can help build your overall strength and cardiovascular endurance, which can help improve confidence,” explains Flexen. That might even translate to taking on things you see as more considerable challenges.

“I have found that when people commit to a structured cycling routine, they often tend to try other workouts because they feel stronger, more confident, and capable of trying new modalities,” he adds.

4. Helps Offset Stress

A certain amount of relief comes from walking away from something causing you mental stress.

Using a cycling class as a break in your stressful day can provide that, but these workouts can also physiologically counter stress.

Feel-good hormones in your body called endorphins are released during exercise and stay elevated in your body for 30 minutes after, making people feel calmer or euphoric.

5. May Reduce Occasional Anxious Feelings

Woman Stares out the Window While Cycling | Mental Benefits of Cycling

Exercise, like cycling, can help you deal with occasional anxious feelings.

People who do regular workouts, like hopping on a BODi Bike for a ride, experience fewer anxious feelings. Researchers don’t think there’s a simple cause and effect here.

Instead, exercise has many compounding, positive effects on your body that can help your emotional health, too.

6. Could Help With Focus

When you’re in the saddle, the only thing you need to focus on is the next challenge, the next hill, the next push.

“In my personal experience, cycling provides a sense of mental focus and clarity that I can carry throughout the day,” Flexen says. All those challenges on the bike help you flex your focus muscle.

7. Provides a Community

Three Different Trainers on Fitness Bikes | Indoor Cycling Mistakes

If you’re taking classes on the BODi bike, you’ll quickly become part of a community — and that has its own benefits.

“Being part of a community can help to hold you accountable to your fitness goals by sharing success stories or providing support to others,” Flexen explains.

8. May Cause Happiness

Warning: The mental benefits of cycling may cause happiness! You may notice you start to feel happier as you get consistent with your cycling routine.

That’s because “the benefits of cycling can help boost one’s happiness,” Flexen explains. It’s a cumulative effect of everything you can gain from your indoor cycling routine. Plus, riding with BODi is just plain fun!