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CYCLEUP TO BOOST HAPPINESS AND BRAIN POWER!

We all know the feeling of dragging ourselves into a spin class feeling depleted, sluggish, and overwhelmed with life only to walk out at the end of a Cycleup class feeling empowered, energized, alive, and maybe even forgetting what got you down in the first place. The secret elixir and therapeutic benefits of cycling continues to draw us back in. Just like a great night of sleep, a 45 minute Cycleup class refreshes us, renews us, and improves our mental alertness, memory, and mood.

Research on the mental and emotional benefits of cycling reveals powerful improvements in many areas with as little as 20-30 minutes of cycling. 

Top Mental and Emotional Benefits of Cycling

  • Cycling grows the brain! Like fertilizer for your brain, cycling increases the number of blood vessels increasing blood flow to the brain. With more blood flow comes more oxygen and nutrients improving function of the brain.
    • Several studies reveal increased concentration, memory, reasoning, and planning after 30 minutes of stationary cycling
    • Cycling builds new brain cells in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory.
  • Cycling elevates mood! Feeling down? 20-30 min of exercise per day works as well as psychotherapy and antidepressants in the treatment of depression. 20-30 min/day can even prevent depression.
    • Researchers found elevated serotonin and dopamine levels which are our feel good neurotransmitters, leading to improved mood and lowered anxiety levels.
    • With > 20-30/day, endorphins levels were increased, further boosting energy levels.
  • Cycling reduces stress and increases stress resistance! 
    • Those who regularly exercise have reduced cortisol levels and have better stress coping skills. Elevated cortisol levels wreak havoc on our metabolism.
  • Cycling helps you sleep better! With 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, cortisol levels are also reduced. Better sleep has been shown to improve mood, energy levels, memory and concentration and with lowered cortisol levels weight loss is enhanced. A sleep deprivation study revealed that appetite increased with increased cortisol levels. Missing your cycling class may have larger impacts on weight loss than you thought.
  • Cycling improves creativity! As you cycle in a regular rhythmic pattern, your mind begins to wander. Letting your mind wander is an important aspect in creativity. Many creative ideas emerge from these focused periods. So go ahead and release your mind during class and let those creative juices flow.
For all the benefits above, the sweet spot seems to be 30-60 minutes at 75% HRmax or a 7 on a scale of 1-10. So the next time you are feeling pulled down by life, take the best medicine and get in to Cycleup. Shore yourself up with some stress resistance, feed your brain, and cycle your way to happiness! 

Heather Flebbe, M.S., ACSM holds her Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and is a lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles as well as College of the Canyons. Heather also presents for the American College of Sports Medicine certification workshops. She may be reached at fastbikermom@gmail.com.