By Luke Mitchell, MS Undergraduate in Sports Journalism and manager of Exercise Bikes Expert
Official numbers tell us that in America alone, about 40 million adults experience severe symptoms of anxiety. On a global level, it looks like 33.7% of people struggle with anxiety. Thankfully, there are some ways in which you can alleviate anxiety symptoms, like a spinning class or outdoor cycling. Most people have started spinning to lose weight or get in shape, but they are unaware that this workout has some other benefits, which involve the mind. In this article, we will be talking about how a spinning routine reduces anxiety symptoms and help you feel a lot better.
Spinning (and cycling) improves brain function
Many people work out to gain muscle mass and become stronger. Well, spinning and cycling help you build muscle while having a positive effect on your brain. Spinning increases blood flow to muscles enabling the body to build more capillaries and therefore boost oxygen levels in muscles. Now, imagine the same process involving the brain.
Moreover, when we are on a bike, our brain produces more proteins that create new brain cells, which improve the cognitive ability. This may sound like a blessing for an aging brain but, it’s a very good thing for young brains too, especially if those people suffer from anxiety.
It helps us better deal with stress
Patients with mental disorders, including people suffering from anxiety and depression, benefit the most from cycling. In fact, one study showed that cycling is just as effective as or even more effective than psychotherapy. In the case of anxiety and depression treatment, an increased production of serotonin and dopamine associated with physical activity can play a crucial role because those two neurotransmitters make us happy.
What’s more, after every cycling or spinning session, our bodies improve their ability to regulate cortisol and adrenaline production, two important hormones for the mood. The result is an increased ability to handle stressful situations which can help greatly if you suffer from anxiety. So, it is very important to have a training routine during which you either spin or cycle so that you allow your body and mind to come up with a better response to stress factors.
Image source: Pinterest
The benefits of a spinning routine
A spinning routine might be one of the best solutions for people living with anxiety who usually tend to worry even about the small things happening in their lives. By signing up for a spinning class you will be forced to exercise regularly, and you’ll, therefore, increase the production of the aforementioned mood-lifting brain chemicals. You will have an overall more positive outlook on what’s happening around you.
Moreover, it seems that spinning can also bring benefits to your body in the long run. This type of physical exercise will help you fight other problems, like depression, for example. It is actually a form of meditation, a way to calm your mind that is induced by the repetitive motion of pedaling. By focusing on the rhythm, you will be able to block certain outside influences that may trigger your anxiety. It may even be more beneficial than yoga because, apart from the mental health benefits, cycling and spinning also bring physical benefits.
A regular spinning routine will also give you a confidence boost. If you do something over and over again you will eventually master, it and it will give you the feeling that you can do anything you set your mind to. You will also become a lot more motivated by reaching your goals and even surpassing them. Plus, spinning will give you the necessary mood to carry out your daily tasks with a lot more energy and focus because you’ve just reached a goal and you feel like the best person in the whole wide world.
The benefits of bike commuting
If you are one of those fortunate souls who would rather spend some time in nature than inside a gym, then you should consider bike commuting or simply go for a ride from time to time. Numerous studies have proven the incredible benefits of riding a bike in nature and especially of going to work on a bike.
In fact, the type of work commute you pick in the morning is very important because this experience can change your entire mood. A person with anxiety can find bicycle commuting incredibly helpful since it can drastically reduce stress levels, unlike other means of transportation, like the bus or the subway, which are usually crowded and extremely stressful. It’s all about getting that blood pumping to help yourself focus much better on your tasks and relieve anxiety.
For people with anxiety, biking is a very relaxing activity because it has a specific pace that they alone decide. Also, you can always stop and look at something that interests you without worrying about all those other cars. Taking deep breaths while doing that is a perfect way to de-stress and alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
Image source: Pinterest
All in all, it seems that you can reduce anxiety symptoms through spinning and cycling. Apart from their obvious physical benefits, these types of exercise can also greatly improve your brain function and cognitive abilities. The blood and oxygen reaching the brain will boost the production of new brain cells that will help you in the long run and keep your mind fresh.
However, as it is the case with any other activity, overdoing it or overexerting your body will have the opposite effect. Spinning for too long will tire you and stress you out instead of de-stressing you and getting you rid of the symptoms of anxiety. So, the idea is to find a balance and exercise only as much as your body can. Allow it to rest and then start over again. You will immediately see just how much happier, calmer, and focused you will become. Anxiety will not bother you any longer, and you’ll finally be able to enjoy life as it is, complete with its good and bad parts.