Bike riding has so many physical health benefits but that’s not all! Cycling regularly can help to boost your mental health, improve your memory and enhance your brain power.
Mental Health Benefits
Bike riding can offer help in boosting your mental health.
Unfortunately in Australia, 10-15% of seniors are thought to have anxiety or depression, however the benefits of bike riding can help to combat this.
Riding gets the blood pumping, body moving and also results in a boost in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Stress, mood and memory are regulated by the protein BDNF and studies show that bike riders are associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety.
According to a study by Sydney University, people who commute to work by bicycle are twice as happy as those who catch public transport, walk or drive.
So we encourage you to get out and ride, where you can, to also enjoy these positive benefits.
Improve Your Memory
Cycling can improve your memory – a little known fact but an important one!
When riding a bike the oxygen levels in your brain increase and, crucially, the hippocampus is stimulated. The hippocampus is the part of your brain that is responsible for memory and can be the reason for memory loss or Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Studies show that just two weekly exercise sessions can help improve the neural underpinnings in the hippocampus. Aerobic exercises, like bike riding, can increase the hippocampal volume and encourage cell growth and survival and memory promotion.
In this study by the University of Illinois, the hippocampus actually grew by 2% along with improving their memory and problem solving skills by 15 - 20% after six months of daily cycling.
You can enjoy these benefits by hopping on your bike a few days a week.
Enhance Your Brain Power
Bike riding can improve your brain matter! In essence, Your grey brain matter is the command centre of your body, whilst your white brain matter is the communications hub which connects the grey matter.
When bike riding, the density and integrity of white matter in the brain ultimately speeds up the connections between different parts of the brain.
Additionally, when learning a new skill like juggling (or even learning to ride a bike), white matter integrity improves and grey matter volume increases. The same study also highlights that structural connectivity in the brain continues to improve when continually practicing a regular physical skill i.e. bike riding.
It has even been noted that people who ride regularly have brains that appear two years younger than their non-exercising peers.
No matter your age, bike riding is a fantastic activity to help improve your brain health so get riding today!