The Science Behind Why Cycling Makes Us Happier

classic33

Legendary Member
The science bit
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You hear so many cyclists gushing about their daily rides that it might be a bit bewildering to imagine how biking could make so many people so happy. As it turns out, the reasons why are firmly grounded in science. Many people don't realize that happiness emerges from the state of the body as a whole - how well we sleep, our energy levels, the stress hormones coursing throughout our systems all play a role in determining how happy we feel. So how does cycling affect all these different areas of life?
 

slowmotion

Quite dreadful
Location
lost somewhere
Having spent 60-80 miles or more in the saddle, through the night, cycling enables me to start drinking beer at shortly after 9am.....without a twinge of guilt.

That's priceless!
 

The_Cycling_Scientist

Über Member
Location
Cambridge
It's a state of euphoria after a ride, a stimulant of sorts, getting the blood circulating and the raised heart rate plays part. I remember reading an artical a while back about it improving the male sex life in similar ways, because of a release of the happy chemical dopamine. Released by the brain after a ride, mich like some gym folks do it's very similar :smile:

Sorry I nerded out there :P I was already drawn in by the name of the thread :laugh::hello::whistle:
 

iggibizzle

Senior Member
Location
blackpool
Zero doubt about it. Works wonders. Having suffered on and off depression for few years, and doctors trying to warp my mind back into shape and making things worse with thier potions, going full on with cycling has transformed my brain. Seriously they should dish out bike rides on prescription :laugh:
 

Adam4868

Guru
It's a state of euphoria after a ride, a stimulant of sorts, getting the blood circulating and the raised heart rate plays part. I remember reading an artical a while back about it improving the male sex life in similar ways, because of a release of the happy chemical dopamine. Released by the brain after a ride, mich like some gym folks do it's very similar :smile:

Sorry I nerded out there :P I was already drawn in by the name of the thread :laugh::hello::whistle:
I agree with this,the only thing is my Mrs doesnt !!
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
I believe it goes deeper than the rush of endorphins that are released by exercise; there's the addtional stimulation afforded by the more aesthetic aspects of cycling (or walking, running, skiing) where you get to enjoy the fresh air and the daylight, the exhilaration of the wind and weather and the challenge of pitting yourself against Nature. My favourite kind of cycling, either road or mountain bike, is the day out when I'm self-sufficient in big country with only a well-maintained bike and a small toolkit. It's never happened but I'd imagine that, faced with a really disabling mechanical, the stranded cyclist must feel like I did when I lost a ski in deep powder on top of an Alp - suddenly you realise you're stuck, let down by the mechanicals.

But it goes even further: over several decades of trudging and cycling around mountainous areas I've come to the conclusion that humans have a deep-seated anthropological need to beat the boundaries of their territory. You only have to watch a bunch of mountain bikers setting off on a ride to see what I mean: popping wheelies, showing off, laughing and joking, full of confidence.... I've sometimes been struck by the similarity between a bunch of cyclists and a pack of hounds, racing around, "owning" everything and marking their territory. In the same way that golf is supposed to be the modern prey-chasing game, I think cycling is the modern territory-patrolling game. Both answer a deep-rooted need that we don't even know exists.
 

deptfordmarmoset

Full time tea drinker
Location
Armonmy Way
I've wondered whether the simple and constant act of balancing occupies some part of the unconscious mind and has a therapeutic effect.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
Humans enjoy any activity that requires skill, for me the sensation of riding a bicyle has always been an enjoyable one and swooping down a hill is the closest I'll ever get to flying.
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
Exercise does make you feel better though I'm not sure why and also not sure why my mind can't remember it as well as when I'm on the bike. I don't think doing the same exercise in a gym would be as beneficial as I think part of it is being outdoors too.
 
Exercise does make you feel better though I'm not sure why and also not sure why my mind can't remember it as well as when I'm on the bike. I don't think doing the same exercise in a gym would be as beneficial as I think part of it is being outdoors too.
The air at a gym is actually quite nasty. There are issues with air quality outdoors in certain areas (congested town centres and the like) but if you get out into the sticks, you can balance the nasty's out.
 
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