It is well-known that cycling, and, in turn, riding an electric bicycle, has many physical benefits. However, you may be surprised to hear about all of the mental benefits as well: here are the top 10 mental benefits of riding an e-bike!
1. Can help battle depression
E-bike riding has been proven to help treat and prevent depression. This is because cycling can help to reduce inflammation and aid in neural growth, which can lead to feelings of calm and relaxation.
Riding an e-bike is also a healthy outlet that can provide a distraction, which can be particularly helpful for those who are overwhelmed by their depressive thoughts. Many e-Bike riders have noted that the sense of peace from being outdoors and cycling have actively contributed to treating their depression by bringing them mental and physical clarity, thus becoming a healing process in itself.
Physical activity is also used and prescribed as a legitimate psychotherapeutic treatment to those dealing with depression and is one of the only therapeutic treatments that have no visibly negative side effects.
2. Improves cognitive function
Studies have shown that using e-bikes can help to improve cognitive function. Maintaining our cognitive functions (Wikipedia link) – which are the mental processes that actively carry out tasks of choosing, receiving, storing, and processing information – is massively important for our health.
Keeping a healthy mind, and in turn, a healthy memory can help to maintain healthy brain functions and prevent us from developing degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or other disorders that attack your brain cells.
E-bike riding is an aerobic exercise, and aerobic exercises, in particular, are linked to improving mental functions due to the increased blood flow to the brain. This promotes the regeneration of cells in the hippocampus, and in fact, can even “counteract the declining hippocampal function” (source link) as you age.
The hippocampus is a part of the brain that is linked to memory; thus, cycling can help you improve and maintain your memory retention. One such study demonstrated participants using mental ability tests, such as the Stroop test, and the results showed (source link) that after a mere 8 weeks cyclers showed improved mental functions while doing these tests.
3. Increases sense of independence
Having and maintaining a sense of independence is extremely important to humans. Maintaining the ability to stay independent boosts our self-esteem and self-value. Riding an electric bike is one of the best exercise methods to promote independence because it provides an option to those who might be daunted or overwhelmed by the idea of traditional cycling and caters to a larger age range than traditional bicycles do.
In fact, e-bike riding has become an increasingly popular option for those dealing with physical disabilities and the elderly, largely in part due to its electric assistance factor. Mobility and a sense of independence are important for anyone of any age, but it especially applies to those who may otherwise be limited by other physical activities.
Since riding an e-bike is a low-impact and easily accessible form of exercise, it can help to inspire that sense of independence once again by offering more opportunities to stay active without putting unnecessary strain on the body.
4. Regulates sleeping patterns
Yes, exercise can help you sleep better. Bear in mind that mental health-related exhaustion is typically different from the exhaustion you get after exercising because it typically stems from stress and mental burnout.
By exercising regularly, you will be able to get your circadian rhythm (such as your sleep-wake cycle) in sync – which is imperative to maintain healthy bodily functions. Regular e-bike riding can also aid in reducing your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can sometimes block regenerative sleep, so in lowering cortisol you have a better chance of the sleep you need to heal.
Riding an e-bike will help to energize you and reduce fatigue, which will result in more restful sleep. The easy-to-use nature of electric bikes ensures less risk of overtiring yourself, as you can easily pace your ride and can rely on the motor to get you where you need to go if you ever feel too tired mid-ride.
5. Lowers stress levels
In this day and age, stress often comes hand-in-hand with the daily responsibilities of life. Reducing stress is essential to maintaining your health because too much stress can manifest physically and can also lead to anxiety disorders.
Aerobic exercise such as cycling has been proven to both reduce stress and help in bettering riders’ state of mind. Stress can lead to muscle tightness, and exercising – particularly riding your e-Bike, which is a full-body workout – helps loosen and relax the muscles while also strengthening them.
As mentioned earlier, cortisol is the stress hormone in our bodies, and while some cortisol is important to have, having too much cortisol over a long time can lead to potential risks such as heart disease, obesity, and depression. So, lowering your cortisol, especially if you deal with a lot of stress, is in your best interests, and e-bike riding is a wonderful way to both relax and take your mind away from daily stresses.
6. Helps with anxiety
In the same vein as stress, cycling can aid with the effects of anxiety. Exercising can release tension and will boost your mental and physical capacity and energy. Cycling, and in turn riding an electric bicycle, is a form of exercise that requires the regulation of breathing.
By practicing deep breathing, there is less carbon dioxide buildup and ultimately more oxygen entering your body, which will help you manage your stress and anxiety levels as well as anxiety sensitivity and can even help to prevent panic attacks. The endorphin rush you get from cycling is important, as endorphins are the body’s natural way of managing pain, and they are released in your brain when you exercise.
Luckily, the release of endorphins is a process that happens when doing both high and low-intensity exercise, which means even if you’re riding an e-bike with the highest level of assistance, you’re still benefiting from it!
7. Encourages mindfulness
Mindfulness is an “integrative, mind-body based approach” (source link) that aids in managing thoughts, feelings, and mental health. Often prescribed as a practice for those dealing with or are at risk of depression, mindfulness leads to calmer thinking.
E-bike riding and the action of pedaling help to keep you engaged in its physical activity at all times while you are riding, which means you are focusing entirely on the action of exercising as well as your surroundings.
Not only does your mind get a distraction and break from disruptive thoughts, stress, depression, or anxiety, but it helps you focus on being in the present and keeps you calm.
8. Improves your mood
Studies have proven that even short spurts of exercise on a daily basis can help to improve people’s mood (due to endorphins) and that those who have active lifestyles have reported feeling better overall than those who don’t.
It has also been noted that the positive environmental impact of riding an e-Bike has contributed to riders feeling more positive about themselves: contributing to the environment by actively lessening your pollution output undoubtedly leads to feelings of satisfaction and happiness.
On top of that, regular aerobic exercise will lead to improved fitness and in turn appearance, with the potential to lead to higher self-esteem. Higher levels of confidence and self-esteem will have a hugely positive impact on the way you view yourself, your body, and your health, which can lead to an overall improved mental state.
9. Improves productivity
Exercising has been known to improve productivity, what with all the aforementioned benefits to your mental processes. This is reflected in studies that have been done on employees who cycle as their main form of transportation, and who are in turn more productive because of it.
Cardiovascular exercise such as e-bike riding will help you fight against fatigue and will keep your oxygen, glucose, and blood levels high, which will, in turn, keep you more focused and more ready to put your mind to work!
10. Benefits your social life
Many people who cycle often do so alongside their partners, friends, family members, as part of a club, or competitively. Needless to say, if you are riding your e-Bike with other people, it’s a great way to introduce a new activity into your social life.
Or, if you find that you’re feeling less motivated to ride your e-Bike on your own, finding someone to ride with can help to boost that motivation as well as keeping someone to hold you accountable for your physical activity. Even having one other person to share your e-Bike rides with can help to improve your happiness and to increase your social time.
Studies have shown that socializing with people with who you can share activities, build friendships with and relate to, will help to promote brain health and better your mental wellbeing!
A few words in conclusion
E-bike riding is a great aerobic exercise that carries many physical and mental benefits. Whether you’re dealing with stress, sleep, and productivity problems, or with more serious issues like anxiety and depression, e-bike riding is a wonderful form of exercise that can benefit your mental health in a variety of ways!
Check out this video on mental readiness and the psychology of cycling: