How riding an e-bike can elevate your mood
Getting up and out, integrating regular movement into your routine, has a ton of total-body benefits. From helping to strengthen muscles and bones to staving off depression, exercise is one way for us to give back to ourselves on the regular. And while every person may have a go-to sweat strategy, there’s one that we here at Charge Bikes can certainly get on board with: Cycling. Cycling is not only a low-impact, fun way to get your heart rate up, but it’s also an efficient method for getting from point A to point B — whether that be running weekend errands or making your way to the office during your morning commute.
“Whether you’re an athletic person with previous cycling experience or a complete beginner, owning a bike with an electric assist motor — having adjustable assistance levels and throttle — can be a total blast,” says Mark Vanek, product manager with Charge Bikes. “E-bikes allow users to fine tune how much assistance they wish to have and when to have it.”
For so many, e-bikes help to lessen the “am I capable of this?” fears that come along with getting on a bike in the first place, thanks to the small motor that engages and gives riders the boost they need to cruise without getting totally gassed.
“For a beginner, it really helps break down barriers,” says Vanek. “You may wonder whether you can ride up a hill, how far you can go, can you get back home — once you get an e-bike, that completely changes the game.”
Changes the game in more ways than one, for sure. Not only does an e-bike help to lessen anxiety for first-time riders, but these bikes also offer a mental health boost — regardless of your experience level. Whether you’re traveling 3 mph or 18 mph, this mood boost can take you well beyond the duration of your ride.
“When we exercise endorphins get released, which act like painkillers that are produced in response to physically stress,” says Todd Buckingham, Ph.D., and exercise physiologist at the Mary Free Bed Sports Rehabilitation Performance Lab. “Endorphins are the body’s natural version of morphine, a chemical given in hospitals to relieve pain. That’s why endorphins make you feel good while exercising, because they help to alleviate the other things going on.”
Don’t just take Buckingham’s word for it, the research agrees. One 2015 study found that aerobic exercise increases blood levels of the natural cannabinoid anandamide. Cannabinoids affect the endocannabinoid system, which is the same part of the brain that marijuana’s active components affect. Hence why so many of us experience that ever-so-lovely “high” feeling during a long ride. Other research found that cycling can also help to improve memory, reasoning, and planning after a 30-minute effort, and additional studies show that even a single bout of exercise results in positive changes in brain chemicals.
In other words? Hopping into the saddle is certainly more than just a cardiovascular and strengthening boost.
Plus getting up and out on your bicycle is an excellent opportunity to take in fresh air and enjoy the outdoors, something that also comes with a fair share of proven mood-boosting perks. “There’s plenty of research on eco-therapy, which shows a connection between nature time and reduced stress and depression,” says Buckingham. “So, if getting an ebike gets individuals outside that may not normally get out like that, it’s certainly beneficial.”
And of course, for those that are still undergoing their normal commute, an e-bike can make the entire process a whole lot more smile-inducing. As more and more are leaning into e-bikes as their go-to method of transportation, they’re also avoiding the stress and hassle of sitting in their cars for long periods of time heading to the office. “An e-bike can save you time, help you avoid public transportation in metropolitan areas, and — as opposed to a regular bike — help you avoid being that sweaty person that arrives disheveled and not prepared for a day at your desk.”
The only question left: Which bike are you going to choose?