Cycling Health Benefits – A ride a day keeps the doctor away!12 May 2019 | Stuart Kightley
In my 20s I had a massive breakdown and was given an incurable diagnosis with a scary name. I went on to make a decent recovery and have been without symptoms for most of the time in the last 12 or so years since I have taken my fitness seriously. Medication isn’t all you need in keeping the men in white coats at bay – a healthy lifestyle has been shown to significantly improve your mental health. In particular, let’s look at any cycling health benefits there are.
In September 2014 the UK’s National Centre for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published a report that shows cycling to work can really help your mental health. The report is based on a study by the University of East Anglia that looked at the health and wellbeing of 18000 commuters and showed that those who cycle or walk to work every day do far better than those who drive or take public transport.
The NICE press release states:
“Data from a series of long-running studies showed that active travel improved mental wellbeing in a number of areas such as concentration, the ability to make decisions and enjoy normal daily activities, and that it reduced the feeling of being constantly under strain.”
It also showed that those who walked or cycled have far better physical health too, and this contributes to good mental wellbeing.
Healthy body / healthy mind…
The old proverb of ‘healthy body / healthy mind’ has been shown to be bang on. Everyone who cycles knows how good you feel after riding a few miles, whether to work or out on the trails. Those who cycle regularly are fitter, slimmer people than those who sit at their desks and drink beer to relax!
There is a lot of research to suggest that during exercise your body releases chemicals into your system that really help with your mental health. You’ll be aware of the ‘endorphin rush’ that comes after a shot of adrenalin, perhaps after a bus cuts you up at a junction and you make it home to tell the tale… You’ll also be aware of feeling happy after a good ride – this is due to the brain’s ‘happy chemical’ serotonin being released into your system as you cycle.
If you don’t feel as if a traditional bike is for you. Why not try an e-bike or e-scooter. These new kids on the block still give you a decent workout and plenty of fresh air.
Anandamide – a natural antipsychotic?
Other chemicals are released into your brain are being looked at as a way of treating or even preventing serious mental illness such as psychosis!
Recent research has shown that a chemical called Anandamide is released into your body during hard exercise. This is known as the ‘bliss chemical’ as the root word, “ananda”, is Sanskrit for “bliss”. Anandamide has been shown to be a powerful antipsychotic, and scientists are looking at ways of triggering the release with drugs – perhaps as the next big selling antipsychotic?
A ride a day…?
The idea that a ride a day keeps the head doctor away may well be true. Not only are you fitter and slimmer – and less prone to stress as a result – but you may be using the body to correct itself by enabling it to give itself a dose of its own medicine. In my own experience, all pills have some side effects, and I for one prefer to take an hour or so out of my day riding to let the body do its own work – so yes there are cycling health benefits to be had!
This blog post was written by our cycling accident lawyers.
Speak to us about a cycling accident claim.
For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811
Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you
Cycling News & InsightsVIEW ALL
Top 10 Major Highway Code Changes for Cyclists
New Highway Code rules for cyclists At the end of January 2022, the Highway Code was updated to make British roads...Read more
What to do immediately after a cycling accident?
If you have been involved in a cycling accident, you may experience shock and disorientation at the scene. Depending on...Read more
The law around E-bikes and E-scooters explained
Why are electric bikes legal but not scooters? E-bikes and e-scooters are the new rides on the block. To many,...Read more
Bike Boxes – what are the rules?
Cycle boxes at traffic lights I read a post recently on a London cycling forum in relation to some confusion...Read more
Highway Code changes just the start in protecting...
The 2020 changes to the Highway Code do not go far enough to change driver behaviour and protect cyclists and pedestrians,...Read more
The importance of parks for cycling
I ventured outside the comfort of my home this past weekend for the first time in 11 weeks. As I walked...Read more
Helmet Cameras: Personal Safety and the Law
Helmet cameras have become one of the must-have items for cyclists, especially those commuting to and from work. They offer...Read more
Bike Cam Prosecutions
Have you ever been cut up by a van turning left? Or been riding along only to find the tarmac...Read more
Boom time for bikes – London Mayor’s new...
Yesterday Sadiq Khan unveiled his ‘London Streetspace’ programme designed to transform London’s streets to accommodate a possible ten-fold increase...Read more
Around the World In One Day for NHS...
On Thursday 30th April 2020 I took part in a 240 mile cycle, raising money for the NHS. This ride was to...Read more
Highway code refresher for cyclists
As we start week 7 of lockdown, there is one thing that is more noticeable on the roads…cyclists. Whether you...Read more
How can liability insurance offer peace of mind...
Stuart Kightley, managing partner writes in the Spring ‘20 issue of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) magazine and explores the question...Read more
Staying safe whilst cycling during the COVID-19
We are all having to change our lifestyles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on society....Read more
Cycling injuries – some Frequently Asked Questions
I thought I would reflect on some of the questions I am frequently asked by my cycling clients and take...Read more
Cycling Accidents involving potholes
If a cyclist is injured as a result of a pothole or defect on the road they were travelling on...Read more
Do I need insurance for cycling?
There is no legal requirement for cyclists to hold insurance cover in order to cycle in the UK. That includes...Read more
Tips for a cycle commuter
Two weeks ago I was cycling home from hockey training along Upper Richmond Road. I was literally 2 minutes from my...Read more
Death of cyclist in road traffic accident opens...
After the death of a cyclist outside the Olympic park, Stuart Kightley, personal injury solicitor at Osbornes re-visits the question...Read more
E-Bikes – are they the future for commuting?
The Government released some clarification last week in relation to the upper limit of the cycle to work scheme. Many...Read more
Intimidatory driving to become breach of traffic law?
A new driving offence of ‘intimidatory driving’ is being considered by the government to crack down on close passes by...Read more
Ealing cyclists up in arms over latest death
After 51-year-old Met Police officer, Claudia Manera was killed in a bike accident at the junction of The Broadway and...Read more
Can a ‘bike backie’ get you in trouble?
London’s controversial mayor Boris Johnson has been caught by The Sun newspaper giving his lawyer wife Marina Wheeler a...Read more
The risks and rewards of cycling in London
Stuart Kightley of Osbornes solicitors asks the question: is cycling in London good for your health? I acted for a...Read more
Cyclists, Roundabouts and the Highway Code
The Highway Code is more than just a guide to how to pass your driving test. It is intended to...Read more