We all know that there are ample physical benefits of biking: A heart and a pair of lungs as strong as tanks, the astronomical amount of calories burned, the low impact on the joints, a strengthened immune system, increased muscle tone, better stamina, etcetera, etcetera . But my Big Book of Bicycling reports the lesser-known perks of biking and I can’t keep them to myself! After 6 years of commuting by bicycle, I agree with all of the below. Hear this:
“1. IT KEEPS YOU SHARP. Concentration: Activities that require balance, quick reactions, and decision-making skills–like martial arts, gymnastics, and cycling–best control Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.
Memory: For the hippocampus–a region of the brain that controls long-term and spatial memory–bigger is better. And as with the rest of your body’s muscles, exercise makes the hippocampus grow. Reports show that exercise helps older adults retain cognitive function and avoid disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
2. IT REDUCES STRESS. Research has shown that vigorous exercise is so effective at quelling anxiety and depression that some patients have been able to reduce or eliminate the use of medications such as Prozac and Zoloft. People who get regular vigorous exercise are less likely to develop anxiety disorders and depression.
3. IT MAKES YOU HAPPIER. Exposure to plants and the outdoors has been linked to reduced aggression in inner-city residents. Exercise increases your body’s production of endorphins–and sends them to the same part of the brain that are activated when we fall in love.
4. IT BOOSTS SELF-ESTEEM–SERIOUSLY.
5. IT HELPS YOU HAVE MORE (AND BETTER) SEX. The aerobic conditioning gained from regular riding translates to greater stamina in other activities, including sweet romance. Additionally, a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that men over 50 who kept physically active were 30% less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. Amps your sex drive: Testosterone is directly related to sex drive in both men and women. A study found that older men who exercise regularly produce more growth hormone and testosterone than those who lead an inactive lifestyle. Regular exercise can boost testosterone levels in women, as well. You’ll want to ride more regularly.”