There are no surprises when I say that the health benefits of cycling are huge. A little aerobic exercise can go a long way to help you live longer, loose weight, and fight depression all simultaneously.
There’s something about raising your heart rate and working up a bit of a sweat that helps to heal a person’s body and chase off any unwanted physical and mental setbacks.
But there’s more.
Did you know that riding your bicycle can make you smarter? Yeah! Smarter! Aerobic exercises, including riding your bike, improve the areas of your brain that increase cognition and memory.
So, the next time you’re thinking about doing a bit of studying grab your bike and go for a bike ride instead!
The idea is to come back and study after your ride… but I will understand if you don’t!
The Science Behind Cycling
When you exercise aerobically, two things happen to the brain. As you get everything moving it circulates blood. With more blood carried to the brain, vascular function improves. When vascular function is improved so is your cognitive performance.
Those annoying memory problems that are faced as we get older become less likely.
But this isn’t just for aging adults.
Recently, children as young as elementary age were studied and the results were amazing. Children who exercised found it much easier to concentrate and subsequently found it easier to learn.
It gets better!
Exercise releases chemicals throughout our bodies. It’s why you feel on top the world after a workout. There’s one chemical, in particular, that’s released into the brain called Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor [BDNF], and it’s the growth specialist that does its work in the white matter.
Without BDFN, people forget things easier and may even struggle to learn new things as well. Exercising can reduce your chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease and it’s because of BDNF. Not only does it help boost existing bourbons, it creates new ones!
So what is the prescription for this brain workout?
The recommended guidelines to increase your smarts is to do three sessions a week. Each session should be around 45 to 60 minutes long and keep your heart rate between 50 to 85% of your max.
Although if you fancy getting a really big brain, you can go ahead and ride to your heart’s and mind’s content!
Photo is from unsplash – public domain
Guest Author Bio
Mike McLeish is the owner of the bicycle blog Pinch-Flat. He’s currently taking full advantage of the warm weather in SE Asia. You can find him cycling through traffic in Kuala Lumpur. Follow him on Twitter at @Pinch_Flat.