Sara Harper, MS
Aerobic activities such as cycling can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and provide positive social benefits. A review of physical activity on an individual’s emotional state revealed that rhythmic aerobic activities such as cycling led to reductions in anxiety and depression after just one exercise session. Exercise increases endorphin levels, body temperature and blood circulation altering reactivity to stress. It can also improve ones’ self-efficacy and cognitive dissonance.
Stationary cycling exercise programs found positive psychosocial benefits in teens. They reported improvements in body image, perceived academic performance and social aptitude in overweight individuals.
Group rides can offer social support and encouragement to challenge yourself and set goals. When just starting out, remember to ride at your own pace for the greatest enjoyment.
*Sara Harper MS is our guest contributing writer. She is a doctorate student in the Exercise Science/ Exercise Physiology dept. at Kent State University
Goldfield, G. S., Adamo, K. B., Rutherford, J., & Murray, M. (2012). The effects of aerobic exercise on psychosocial functioning of adolescents who are overweight or obese. J Pediatr Psychol, 37(10), 1136-1147. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jss084
Guszkowska, M. (2004). [Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood]. Psychiatr Pol, 38(4), 611-620.
Knapen, J., Sommerijns, E., Vancampfort, D., Sienaert, P., Pieters, G., Haake, P., . . . Peuskens, J. (2009). State anxiety and subjective well-being responses to acute bouts of aerobic exercise in patients with depressive and anxiety disorders. Br J Sports Med, 43(10), 756-759. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2008.052654