Bicycle and Mental Health | Pedaling towards Well-being

Foto de una persona deprimida, haciendo referencia a la salud mental

For no one is it a secret that nowadays time seems to pass more quickly... The pace of modern life affects us all, and mental health is starting to take on great importance in different contexts. In my journey and history as a high-performance athlete, it has been easy to recognize that the bicycle, in many moments, has been a way to heal and find peace in difficult situations, supporting the theory about the reach of sports beyond the physical. Note! I always recommend doing it therapeutically and not as an avoidance strategy.

My relationship with mental illnesses has been very close, as in my close and distant family, there have been some cases of complex disorders. But beyond delving into this topic, my intention is to invite you to reflect on the power that the bicycle has on our mental health and general well-being.

Descenso de montaña por un paisaje natural lleno de naturaleza


A Neurochemical Journey

The famous "happiness hormones" are very present when we get on the bike and pedal because the body triggers a series of neurochemical processes when performing this activity, releasing endorphins, these powerful hormones that have a great impact on the overall well-being of the body and therefore, on mental health.

These are neurotransmitters that act as natural analgesics and generate a feeling of euphoria and well-being. When you pedal, the body responds by releasing these endorphins, creating a kind of "high" in good mood, which is especially noticeable during a long or intense ride.

Since cycling is an aerobic sport, the production of endorphins is activated, and they, in turn, bind to opioid receptors, reducing the perception of pain and generating a feeling of pleasure while pedaling. That's why those of us who love this sport are called "crazy" when they see the time, effort, and sacrifice we put into cycling... But the reality is that we are experiencing a natural analgesic high, that is, giving medicine to our own body!

Felicidad al montar en bicicleta

In addition to pain relief, the "happiness hormones" induce the body and mind into a feeling of euphoria and well-being, a state known as the "runner's high" or "cyclist's euphoria", leading our minds to be more positive and optimistic. With that said, wouldn't this be one of the most effective ways to significantly reduce stress?

 

Self-awareness and Personal Growth

Cycling has also allowed me, and I'm sure many others, to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Every ascent or steep climb, every descent at our maximum speed, and every moment where we want to throw in the towel because we think we can't go on challenges us to surpass ourselves. And that's how we increase our self-esteem, confidence, and improve mental health.

"Every time we get on a bike, we are embarking on a personal and physical challenge that pushes us beyond self-imposed limits."

When we talk about mountain biking, natural obstacles appear in greater numbers, and every time we overcome them, we experience that sense of achievement that shows us that often the limits are only in our heads... And that's when we become "addicted" to this sport and the sense of well-being it generates.

Llegada en bicicleta de ruta al punto más alto de Ticlio, Perú

All of this becomes a "virtuous circle," meaning that every time we face bigger challenges, we trust our abilities more, and at the same time, we start to transmit this self-confidence to other areas of our lives because, just like in cycling, our day-to-day presents obstacles and challenges that sometimes only require a change in our "mental chip" to overcome them.

The conclusion of all this is that cycling not only tones and strengthens the body but also our mind and overall well-being, empowering us in the face of our own capabilities and giving us various life lessons.

"Each pedal stroke should be a reminder that we are capable of great things, both inside and outside of the bicycle."

For me, cycling is not just my sport; it's my therapy. So, the next time you're on your bike, remember that you're not just taking care of your body but also your mind. With every bike ride, you're taking a journey toward better mental health and lasting personal well-being, so NEVER STOP!

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Felicidad en bicicleta en algún lugar hermoso de latinoamérica

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