Every year the Mental Health Foundation run Mental Health Awareness Week. This year the focus of the week is anxiety, which can be a debilitating problem and is something that many of us have experienced.
One of the Foundation’s top recommendations for dealing with anxiety is to get moving. Exercise can provide a natural boost of energy and happy feelings, as well as easing tension and stress. It can also improve your sleep and give you a sense of achievement.
How to cycle for a mood boost
Cycling is a great way to get moving and can provide you with all the benefits above, as well as being a great way to improve your physical fitness.
Cycling is great exercise because you can do it at your own pace, but also enjoy company while you ride. It’s not inherently competitive, although of course it can be if that’s what you like. If you just want to enjoy some exercise that doesn’t have to be too demanding, then cycling is ideal.
Why not organise a ride with some friends or family? A cycle with a midway stop at a café or coffee shop is a great weekend activity that you can enjoy with a group. If you don’t have friends or family that like to cycle though, don’t worry! We have a blog with some top tips on finding cycling groups
Cycle in nature
Getting outside in nature is great for your mental health. It can help with stress and make you feel better. In a poll from their Nature report in 2021, the Mental Health Foundation found that 70% of UK adults agreed that being close to nature improves their mood. 49% also said that being close to nature helps them to cope with stress.
Plan a route through or to nature – cycle through a park, along a canal, or to a beautiful garden. That way, you will be able to enjoy the combined benefits of exercise and spending time in nature. Check out our blog on summer cycling routes for some ideas.
The most important thing is, of course, to enjoy your cycle. If it feels like another thing to add to the to-do list, it won’t reduce your stress or anxiety. Completing a hard route or cycling a certain number of miles might be the motivation that gets you out on your cycle. Or you might prefer a more mindful, slower ride around a pretty park or to visit a friend.
Whatever you prefer, a cycle ride that ends with a big grin on your face is the one that will have the most benefit to your mental health.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 is taking place from 15-21 May. You can find out more about the week here.