Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

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Thoglette
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Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Thoglette » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:08 pm

When I was anxious and depressed, cycling put me on the road to happiness | Charles Graham-Dixon | Opinion | The Guardian
Charles Graham-Dixon (The Guardian) wrote:What began as a way of avoiding the tube and panic attacks has become my primary form of transport, a means to compete and my daily dose of therapy. Counselling and medication have helped but not come close to what cycling offers me. I still have episodes of anxiety/OCD, and worry sometimes takes control, snowballing small doubts and concerns into all-consuming neuroses. Whenever this happens, I go cycling. Whether a short one-hour ride or a four-hour endurance session, cycling declutters my mind and makes everything more simple and manageable.

Key to the therapeutic qualities of cycling is its inherent mindfulness. Focusing on the physical and engaging mind and body purely on riding takes us away from negative, swirling thoughts, which take on such greater and troubling significance when we obsess over them. This unhealthy rumination makes life unnecessarily convoluted, while cycling, at its heart, is a simple activity.

This won't come as much surprise to anyone who rides regularly.
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Calvin27
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Calvin27 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:29 pm

Agree 100%. It's refreshing to clear the mind and focus on turning those wheels, self awareness of your aerobic thresholds and if you MTB awareness and application of body position and execution. A bit of banter on the side and coffee and beer afterwards. Can't go wrong.

However with the highs come the lows. I was seriously depressed when I was injured and out for over half a year.
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g-boaf
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby g-boaf » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:30 pm

Any kind of exercise pretty much does the same thing. But riding is better, can't think of anything that takes you away from your ordinary day to day life as well as riding does. Especially if you really do it properly and go overseas with your bike.

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bychosis
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby bychosis » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:35 pm

Indeed, before I started regularly commuting by bike I found that the best cure for a bad day at work was 30-40min of MTB riding. Focuses the mind elsewhere, plus a good dose of adrenalin when things get a bit 'exciting' to further clear the head.
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby CKinnard » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:11 pm

Yes cycling is good for temporarily blowing off cortisol storms and fight/flight patterning, and giving the brain an endorphin/enkephalin bath.

However, after decades of researching the fields, I think different exercises and behaviors are appropriate for different stressors.

"Sustained" stressors are better dealt with by combined resistance and endurance exercise:

- Resistance ex builds testosterone, confidence, and a more offensive mindset (as opposed to defensive), which is more helpful in addressing stressors directly.

- Endurance ex is more like taking a pain reliever that masks pain, rather than addressing the source of pain.

- And even better than the above are martial arts, wrestling, boxing. The endocrine profiles of these activities in addition to psychoemotional states, transfer positively to dealing with chronic stressors.

In addition anyone with depression/anxiety/sleep issues should seek some psychological counseling in how to address stressors more proactively. It usually means approaching the source of stress directly and immediately, rather than letting it eat away at you month after month.

Our society has become so PC and beta that confrontation is discouraged.
So there's many people suffering away in silence, while others bully, oppress, ridicule, have unreasonable expectations. The more you study these things, the more you realize it is very much animal spirits at play...with alphas trying to lord it over others...and betas submitting and being perpetually stressed and unfulfilled.

And I am not saying everyone who is stressed is inherently beta. Most of us struggle to find the middle ground between being passive and aggressive.

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Thoglette
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Thoglette » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:00 pm

CKinnard wrote:- And even better than the above are martial arts, wrestling, boxing. The endocrine profiles of these activities in addition to psychoemotional states, transfer positively to dealing with chronic stressors.


For those whose physiques aren't up to high-impact martial arts (or similar things like big wave surfing or rugby) I can recommend fencing.

You get all the fast twitch/fast reaction coupled with some physical risk (getting hit leaves bruises) without the bone crunching impacts and tendon tearing twists. You still need to work on your flexibility but it's almost all linear.
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby fat and old » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:07 pm

After the strokes, I went through a few panic/anxiety attacks....is this a stroke or what? type of things. Spent a few nights in hospital. Never since I started riding (along with other changes).

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby CKinnard » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:36 pm

fat and old wrote:After the strokes, I went through a few panic/anxiety attacks....is this a stroke or what? type of things. Spent a few nights in hospital. Never since I started riding (along with other changes).


If you had strokes, yep you don't want to do anything that pushes blood pressure or intrathoracic pressure (like breath holding while doing resistance ex).
Your priorities are to get those arteries cleaned out and reduce risk of coagulation, which is primarily diet.
Second priority is to gradually build cardiovascular challenge.
Post MI and stroke patients have a protocol you should have got from your medical carers. It breaks down into watt load on a stationary bicycle, or vague recommendations for walking.

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby CKinnard » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:46 pm

Thoglette wrote:For those whose physiques aren't up to high-impact martial arts (or similar things like big wave surfing or rugby) I can recommend fencing.

You get all the fast twitch/fast reaction coupled with some physical risk (getting hit leaves bruises) without the bone crunching impacts and tendon tearing twists. You still need to work on your flexibility but it's almost all linear.


Wrestling and some martial arts are more about skill and knowledge in biomechanics to lever an advantage over an opponent....so don't require blunt force ballistic impact.

I've attended one world championship fencing comp in Australia back in the 80s, and it was brutal, and loud....though electronic signaling failures interrupted way too much.
Also had friends at Uni of Qld fencing club who were nationally competitive.

My thrust is that physical strength and skills improve one's confidence and psychophysiological capacity to deal with stress.
A farmer or anyone doing a lot of heavy manual work usually has less sleep issues than an office worker, all other things being equal.
And children and teens are steeled with confidence by physical movement.
I think most of us don't appreciate how much desk and computer jobs unbalance and weaken us, in mind, spirit, and body.

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Philistine » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:35 pm

Rule #6 // Free your mind and your legs will follow.
Your mind is your worst enemy. Do all your thinking before you start riding your bike. Once the pedals start to turn, wrap yourself in the sensations of the ride – the smell of the air, the sound of the tires, the feeling of flight as the bicycle rolls over the road.

Trust the Velominati to come up with the mot(s) juste. How good are these guys?

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Cyclophiliac » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:04 pm

Cycling is my life, and gives me a reason to keep going. My life is pretty unsatisfactory in other respects, but at least I have the cycling to look forward to. Without it, I'd have been tempted to do something stupid (and terminal) a long time ago.

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Jawa » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:06 am

Unfortunately you can’t cycle 24hrs a day 7 days a week. When the pedals stop the demons return

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Daus » Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:36 am

Jawa wrote:Unfortunately you can’t cycle 24hrs a day 7 days a week. When the pedals stop the demons return


Jawa you must be missing something it's not just about the excercise it's about being outside in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery and the freedom, laughing at a coffee stop with friends seeing the little things about you and just letting go. It's a the feeling you get at the beach rolling about in the surf, ever watched dolphins riding along the waves on a quiet beach, it's about living, life does not stop when you get of the bike embrace it.

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby g-boaf » Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:13 am

Philistine wrote:Rule #6 // Free your mind and your legs will follow.
Your mind is your worst enemy. Do all your thinking before you start riding your bike. Once the pedals start to turn, wrap yourself in the sensations of the ride – the smell of the air, the sound of the tires, the feeling of flight as the bicycle rolls over the road.

Trust the Velominati to come up with the mot(s) juste. How good are these guys?


They only stuck it on a website and made advertising money from it, that's all they can take credit for.

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Philistine » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:51 am

g-boaf wrote:
They only stuck it on a website and made advertising money from it, that's all they can take credit for.


Fair go g-boaf. Next you'll be telling me Father Christmas isn't real.

Seriously though - Rule #6 is a particularly poignant message for this thread, and someone must have written it. If not them, who?

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Philistine » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:57 am

Jawa wrote:Unfortunately you can’t cycle 24hrs a day 7 days a week.


But imagine how fit you would be if you could. :D

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g-boaf
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby g-boaf » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:11 am

Philistine wrote:
Jawa wrote:Unfortunately you can’t cycle 24hrs a day 7 days a week.


But imagine how fit you would be if you could. :D


I don't think I'd want to ride for that much. You do need a break from it sometimes.

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby find_bruce » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:41 pm

More an effective treatment than a cure - ever had to hang around a cyclist who couldn't ride for a while ?

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roller
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby roller » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:34 pm

g-boaf wrote:Especially if you really do it properly and go overseas with your bike.


like so?

Image
inflammatory statement or idea

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bychosis
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby bychosis » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:06 pm

roller wrote:
g-boaf wrote:Especially if you really do it properly and go overseas with your bike.


like so?

Image


except you'll need a helmet until you get into international waters :D
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby syu » Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:51 pm

bychosis wrote:
roller wrote:like so?

Image


except you'll need a helmet until you get into international waters :D


This comment is a cure for depression! :lol:

warthog1
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby warthog1 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:43 pm

I don't meditate.
I imagine cycling for me is a fair approximation of it though.

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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Farmer Elvis » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:15 pm

warthog1 wrote:I don't meditate.
I imagine cycling for me is a fair approximation of it though.

That's probably a fair comment

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Thoglette
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Thoglette » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:40 pm

How being a MAMIL saved a cyclist's life
Angelique Donnellan, ABC wrote:Six years ago Justin Lang was in a very dark place.

"I wasn't planning on being around for the whole year," he told 7.30.

"I didn't have anything to live for."

One day it became all too much.


But he's still here: he had a ride to do with his mates.
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Re: Cycling - a cure for depression and anxiety

Postby Kronos » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:27 am

warthog1 wrote:I don't meditate.
I imagine cycling for me is a fair approximation of it though.


Yeah it depends, sometimes I'm too wound up it does nothing much to help with anxiety/depression, sometimes the roads out there are just filled with nasty people. I find if I can get out and go somewhere where I don't have to think it does a lot to clear my head. I tend to save my worst moments when I'm feeling really out of sorts and need my own time to getting out on the off road cycling tracks, either up the forestry track, or out at the local crit track.

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