Cycling Helps to Build Muscle and Brain Strength
You dislike jogging, you only know fitness studios from the outside, and hiking trails are too far away from nature for you? We have bad news for those who always have an excuse: an occasional ride on the bike is almost always possible. And the data is unambiguous.
The fact that regular physical activity is good for your health should be common knowledge by now. Exercise benefits the cardiovascular system in particular. However, exercise is also beneficial to brain health.
Increased Oxygen Levels in the Brain
What is the reasoning behind this? First and foremost, the solution is straightforward: exercise raises the heart rate, allowing more oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to reach the brain. Because our brain is a true oxygen and sugar guzzler, this also means that our thinking center will have more energy turnover.
From the monotony of the daily grind, moderate cycling loads stimulate the brain. similar to concentrating on a cognitive task or an exam. The only difference is that there are usually no mental constraints to force our thoughts into tracks when cycling.
Regular bike rides can cause many biochemical and neural effects in the body and brain, which can lead to increased concentration
The Effects of Cycling on the Brain
However, simply increasing the oxygen supply to the brain would be an overly simplistic explanation for the numerous adaptation processes triggered by cycling in the nervous system, particularly in the brain. To better understand these connections, we must delve deeper into the neurological connections.
Our brain is made up of gray matter and white matter. The cortex of the brain is formed by the cell bodies of approximately 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons. The white matter is found on the inside and is made up of nerve cell processes, such as conduction pathways.
Problems Vanish, and the Mind Becomes Clear
The motor cortex (brain cortex) becomes much more active, while the prefrontal cortex (brain cortex) (which is responsible for logical thinking and planning) shuts down. This could explain the disappearance of everyday problems.
Cycling Improves Cognitive Performance by Stimulating Synapses
Cycling, and physical activity in general, stimulates the release of growth factors (neurotrophins) in the brain and muscles, such as the protein BDNF. As we now know, this results in the development of new nerve cells, but more importantly, new connections between nerve cells. This is known as neurogenesis.
The neurons are linked together by synapses. Each nerve cell has approximately 150,000 synapses. Given the right support, the more neurons and synapses there are, the higher a person’s cognitive performance will normally be.
Cycling Has Been Shown in Studies to Have a Positive Effect on the Brain
Subjects in a 2015 Dutch study did daily indoor cycling training for six months. The brains of the experimental group were compared to those of a control group that received no training before and after the six-month period. The number of connections between nerve cells (synapses) increased significantly.
A Taiwanese study found that BDNF levels went up significantly after 12 weeks of cycling on ergometers. This explains why the first study found better connections between nerve cells.
In summary, cycling acts as a brain fertilizer, encouraging nerve cells to grow and connect better with one another. It also makes you smarter!
Cycling Research: Scientific Evidence for Learning and Mental Fitness
In recent years, the number of studies examining physical activity and mental performance has increased. Some of these studies, however, are very specific because they primarily address effective biochemical processes.
However, one thing is certain: any physical activity can be replaced by cycling and the results will be the same. This is because cycling is a very tough form of exercise that makes the brain change in very good ways.
Cycling Has the Same Health Benefits as Walking or Running.
In an American study, subjects in the experimental group were required to walk three times a week for 40 minutes, while the control group received only light stretching training.
As a result, the hippocampus of the sports group grew by about 2%, while the stretching group experienced an age-related decline of 1% during the study year. So, like a muscle, exercise causes the brain to grow.
It is simple to transfer the most commonly used forms of exercise in the studies, walking or running, to cycling for practicality.Thus, cycling results in the same neuronal adaptation processes.
Cycling Improves Your Mind, Hormones, and Mood
While the majority of the effects of cycling on the body are well understood, cycling does much more. Aside from the effects on the brain described here, there is also a positive effect on the psyche.
Adrenaline, testosterone, growth hormones, but also happiness hormones like dopamine and serotonin, as well as the body’s own morphine, are released during cycling.
Thus, feelings of happiness during and after cycling can be explained physiologically. A number of studies show that exercise, including cycling, improves mood.
Cycling Relieves Stress
Regular exercise lowers the risk of depression and stress. Cycling for 15 minutes reduces the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Cycling in nature increases the stress-relieving effects because simply being outside makes you feel more relaxed, motivated, and happy. Cycling and other endurance sports can also help you sleep better at night.
Is Cycling Effective for Improving Concentration? Cycling improves concentration through biochemical processes and neural adaptations in the brain. Even with regular, moderate exercise, this occurs.
Cycling is a great alternative to jogging or going to the gym if you are tired of jogging or going to the gym. So, what are you holding out for?