We are all aware that the sport of cycling is one of the best ways to improve your physical condition. You can burn a lot of calories extremely quickly when you are on a ride, plus you will be improving your cardio every time you get on your bike.
However, what people may not be aware of is how cycling can help you in a mental capacity. Research has shown that cycling can help to melt away any stress you are feeling in addition to focusing your mind on a singular task. All of this has its benefits, which we are going to look at here.
Create Capillary Beds
As you improve your body’s fitness you create something called capillary beds inside your body, which are used to better pump blood and oxygen to the muscles that need them the most. This is one of the ways that your body develops better muscle as you exercise.
Best of all, it’s not just the muscles that feel the benefits of this increased level of capillaries. Your brain will also develop more as you ride, meaning that more blood and oxygen get pumped to your brain whenever you hop on the bike. This helps you to maintain a higher level of mental sharpness, which you can take forward into your regular life outside of the sport of cycling.
Increased Neuron Firing
You may vaguely remember neurons from your school biology lessons, and may even remember that they have something to do with how quickly and efficiently your brain is able to communicate to the other parts of your body to get them to execute a task.
When you are cycling, you are forcing more of your body’s nerve cells to fire, and this increased use of neurons causes your body to up the creation of a vital set of proteins and compounds, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, all of which work to create new brain cells to handle your increased demand.
This means that you are literally forcing your body to create new neurons and essentially building your brain to be better. All of these new neurons will also release what are known as neurotransmitters, so every cell in your brain can communicate more effectively.
How Does All Of This Help?
Increasing the blood flow to your brain and encouraging the development of new cells means that you are constantly keeping your brain working for you. This is especially important for people as they begin to age and they start to lose the mental sharpness that they are so used to having.
This is a natural process, but not one that the older rider needs to submit to. In fact, if you get on your bike regularly you can slow this process right down by stimulating your brain to keep on working for you. This allows you to maintain and even improve your brain volume.
Couple that with the fact that a bigger and more well-connected brain simply works better, allowing for faster recall and more efficient thinking, and there really is no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of cycling to up your mental prowess. After all, who couldn’t use having higher levels of concentration and superior problem-solving abilities when it comes time to work on an important task?
Best of all, it’s not like you have to ride faster and harder to see improvements. As long as you are providing yourself with a challenge whenever you get on the bike, you are doing enough work for your brain to start seeing the benefits. Keep that in mind the next time you head out for a ride, regardless of whether you prefer road or mountain biking.