It’s no secret that 2020 was a hard year for many people, even in 2021, many are still stuck in that funk. And even before the Covid Pandemic, Mental Health America reported that around 19% of American adults experience some form of mental illness. This includes anxiety and depression and for those struggling with these issues it can make it challenging to get through the day and stay excited for the future. (Mental Health America)
But another number that is on the rise is that amount of people who are seeking help to obtain better mental health. I think that this is super promising and shows that we are more willing to tackle these problems as a society. And it also demonstrates that many of those struggling with mental health are looking for practices to get to a more balanced mind.
So (obviously) I am not a doctor and there is no substitute for a trained professional when dealing with really hard mental health things. But through both looking at studies and hearing personal stories, it is clear to me that there is stacks of evidence that eBikes can really help to support a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Some researchers believe that the increased blood flow to the brain as a result of moderate activity is the reason people who exercise tend to have better mental health. Other researchers believe that it is the neurotransmitter release, and some believe it is simply related to human evolution. Although there is still debate over what it is about exercise specifically that improves brain function one thing is clear, exercising does improve brain function. (Source)
One study I found looked directly at eBikes and exercise. In one part of the experiment they measured people's “SF 36” Mental Health Score before and after consistently riding a bike for 8 weeks. The SF 36 is a survey that assesses a person’s quality of life. The study found that after the 8 weeks of riding an ebike there was a marked improvement on the participants mental health. (Source)
For myself, when I am riding my bike it allows my mind to wander. I find myself going over my day, thinking about things I am excited about and daydreaming. Sometimes I even slip into a pseudo-meditative state and the only thing on my mind is moving the pedals another rotation. When I get off the bike my mind feels rested in a way that I can only compare to a good night's sleep and it keeps me coming back, to keep pedaling.
Riding a bike, especially an eBike, that allows you to go farther and faster can be a great way to escape into nature. It gives a chance for a change of pace and the important quiet that you get when you are deep in the woods. In a world where many of us spend a lot of time looking at our phones, computer screens, tv and otherwise being over-stimulated nature is a place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle.
And while eBikes help us to disconnect from stress, I believe they can help us to reconnect to a community. People who are already a part of the biking world know how easy it is to strike up conversations with other bikers. What starts with a chat about your bike can often lead to a genuine friendship. And feeling a sense of community and belonging can help us feel better about ourselves. Having a community can help us to go for our goals while feeling secure. Through organizing rides with friends to meeting new people, biking makes it easier to connect with others in positive ways.
Life can be a bit hard to navigate, and at some point most people will struggle with mental health. An eBike is a great way to help pull you out of a funk or prevent one in the first place. Through riding an eBike, we are able to exercise, get out into nature, and even find a sense of community. If you have a story to share about how your bike improved your life please reach out in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to hear from you!