Cycling has a number of physical, mental and psychological benefits. It could even be that silver bullet that ends the scourge of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder, which afflicts so many people around the country.
What is Depression?
It is not easy to explain what depression is, to those who have never experienced it. Most mentally healthy people offer well-meaning advice for depression, such as “get over it, not a big deal…”, or “you’ve got to toughen up”, but that does more harm than good.
When you are depressed, you may feel like you are in a deep hole, surrounded by darkness on all sides and there no getting out of that. Life seems hopeless and you think you are done. You feel empty inside, and have this sense of despair and dread.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that people feel during the winter. This is common in those parts of the world where there is less sunlight during the day or where the winters are very harsh with deep snow and biting cold.
SAD is treated in the same manner as depression. The most common psychiatric medicine prescribed for SAD is a drug called _________ <--- (this means there are too many to list). The problem with this is that these drugs have the potential to cause many harmful side effects.
As an addition to any medicinal treatment, modern medicine recommends Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Light Therapy as treatment for SAD. They also suggest participating in vigorous physical or cardiovascular activity such as... cycling!
Cycling for Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Indeed, cycling could be just the answer to depression and seasonal affective disorder. Here’s what is so good about cycling…
#1: It is a very good exercise. Cycling is a perfect cardiovascular activity which is good for the heart’s health and great for the brain.
#2: It clears up your mind. Cycling is a good physical exercise and when you exercise the body releases chemicals called endorphins, which are called “happy hormones”. Endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain which minimize your perception of pain, triggering a positive feeling in the body, the same as taking morphine. It leaves you feeling elated, joyful and even euphoric.
#3: It gets you moving and out of the house. It ensures that you get a plenty of the Sun – and vitamin D – which is so important for your mental health and balance.
#4: Cycling can be an excellent group activity and is great for socializing. It is also a very good solitary activity; you will never get bored when you are cycling.
#5: Cycling gives you a sense of being independent, especially when you are mountain biking.
#6: It is an excellent way to improve your overall physical health, strengthening your body to fight illnesses and maintaining a healthy weight.
#7: It makes you aware of your natural surroundings, the environment and the world around you. You realize that there is so much more to the world than just problems. This gives you a new sense of perspective.
#8: Cycling leaves you sweating profusely and tired in a good way. This ensures that you get 8 hours of restful sleep when you hit the bed at night. Cycling is an awesome way to battle insomnia or restlessness during sleep.
Do you feel a bit down lately? Do you suspect that you have seasonal affective disorder? Cycling could be just the answer you are looking for. Please see a medical professional for any medical treatment. If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Available 24 hours everyday, also available for online chat.