ON YOUR BIKE!
Bicycles arrived in the late 19th century in Europe, they were rough, uncomfortable but certainly beat walking. Today’s bikes are comfortable, precision engineered, use modern materials and with the advent of the computer are a thing of beauty.
The feeling of air rushing past your face as you rocket down a hill is a reminder that you are still very much alive and close to nature. As you cycle along man made cycle paths you are given an opportunity to have a good look around. What birds are in sight? What plants and flowers are visible? Unless you are doing a time trial keep your senses open to nature. Nature is a nurturer and feeds the soul.
So why jump on a bike? Getting out in the fresh air and sunshine uplifts the spirits, it also gives you a dose of Vitamin D. Be aware that if you are planning a ride of more than 20 minutes apply some sunscreen and wear sun smart clothing to cover up. The physical exercise from riding is beneficial to blood flow and gets the muscles moving.
If you are just starting to ride a bike again, work up from smaller outings and use your gears on the bike for maximum benefit. Search in your local paper for bike groups to join, it is socially beneficial to join a group and lifetime friendships may occur. It is also a great motivator if you have committed to attending a regular bike ride.
The mental health benefits from jumping on your bike are major, once you start peddling it is amazing how your mind starts to become quiet and your legs begin to feel alive. Also consider uploading a bike app on to your phone so you can map your rides and see how you improve over a period of time. The bike is a resilience machine for humans as it can nurture a sense of worth, confidence and build motivation. Having a dose of sun can reduce the effects of anxiety/depression and being out in nature can develop a feeling of peace internally.
With the introduction of electric bikes into the market you now have an opportunity to ride a bike well into old age and beyond! My first electric mountain bike arrived in 2017, it had 5 power settings and 7 gears, I used it to get up mountains and mentor 15 year old boys, finally I could keep up with the little blighters. It made cycling an option easy and meant at the end of a day even if you were feeling a little tired a bike ride was still an option. The wider tyres improved stability and made uneven ground easy to ride over, it was a great confidence booster and added to the joy of riding down mountain bike paths. If you are feeling energised you still have the option to make the bike feel like a normal bike by scaling down the power setting and upping the gear ratio. One word of warning though if you are over 50 years of age check the mirror before donning on the lycra, from personal experience it may feel empowering at the time however........... But it is up to you!
Get back on to your bike, if you can afford an electric bike, buy one, there are so many physical, mental and social benefits to riding a bike. #smallwellbeingchangesmajorlifegains