How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depression?

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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby dobby » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:12 am

I suffered a major depressive episode following 2 family members being killed in car accidents - and got myself out of the funk studying at Uni as a mature age student.
I then went onto an MBA but found the sitting on my "arse" very tedious and brought back the anxiety side of depression, but not depression per se.

I have only started cycling the last 3 months or so, but the exercise is really really helping the way my head is working.

Womble: never be worried about saying you are bipolar - it is the people who make it difficult for people who have a problem to admit it - that have the real problem :-)
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by BNA » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:33 pm

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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby giwi2 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:33 pm

I have been amazed at the impact cycling has had on my life in the last 2 years. ALL of it has been positive as per below:

Cycling -

in the morning gives me a great start to the day;
gives me a special simple freedom that i cannot get any other way;
has helped me lose nearly 10 kg;
has given me good legs (according to my wife);
cleanses my mind in a gentle way;
has given me another way to share things with my wife (who got me into cycling in the 1st place);
has helped me a more vigilant, courteous car driver;
has allowed to me to enjoy the country side i have been travelling through so much more;
has allowed me to discover a new passion in my life;
has allowed to meet so many new friends;
has helped me been in tune with my body more;
has introduced new levels of physicalpain and suffering to me; and
so much more............

heart felt thanx to all those that have shared these experiences with me :) :)
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby elStado » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:16 am

After a pretty much any ride longer than 4km I am feeling pretty good for the next couple of hours after having a shower and settling down. I also sleep much better.

I feel very positive and am in a good mood. I also find that my libido is increased if I have had a good ride or excercise. 8)

I find that if I push myself a little extra, especially on those shorter rides, I feel as good as I did if I was on a longer but slow ride. It's good fun getting the heart rate up and getting some speed.
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby baarg » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:09 pm

I came accross this post by chance, I thought I was alone, I see I am not. Cycling is like an addiction to me, having suffered from depression and feeling really low if I can't get on the bike or do something active, cycling is almost fundamental to my life at the moment. I lost my dad a few months ago and I honestly believe that the only thing that helps me survive it is cycling. For years now exercise has become a way of dealing with things in general and if I can't do something I feel like a cat in a cage or something. I think the reason why we feel this way is due to the flight or fight response that someone mentioned (adrenaline, endorphines). Humans, like many other animals, evolved in a world where we are constantly being chased or have to chase, i.e. escaping (sprinting), pursuiting, riding with a bunch is a pretty basic, primal thing really, it's like we are all a bunch of animals, the difference is that it all happens with a machine between our legs, apart from that, it's the closest thing to us being part of nature there is, in my opinion.
So yes, cycling is very important for me; riding and heavy metal of course! :evil:
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby elStado » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:03 pm

baarg wrote:riding and heavy metal of course! :evil:


I like you avatar.
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby Dodgy-Knee » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:12 pm

Hi all

New to this forum and I saw this thread... it's a little old now and may have run its course but I thought I'd add my 2c worth.

I suffer from depression and have done so since my late teens/early 20's (I'm 44 now) ... I began cycling in my late 20's just for fun and not as a way of managing my depression. In fact, I didn't even know that exercise could influence your moods. I found that even though I still had bad days, I felt great. I know that may sound like a contradiction but I would ride to work or ride socially and just getting out there made me forget my problems or even how bad I was feeling.... it was a way to unwind.

As my cycling and fitness improved, I found that I loved riding hills - steeper the better. There was just no way I was able to worry about anything (other than imminent cardiac arrest) when I was busting my lungs getting to the top of another climb. I was able to take the edge off that terrible, terrible feeling ... those of you who suffer from depression will know what I mean.

However, it's not all smiles and kisses.... occasionally I bottomed out so badly that not even cycling could rescue me.... I would get ready for a group ride early in the morning while my family slept and all the while I'd be trying to convince myself to go for a ride... it was as if someone was dragging me to stay at home. I'd ride slowly to the bike shop and join the group but not really talk to anyone... eventually the ride wold start and I'd hang at the back until i 'accidentally' got caught at a red traffic light and lose the group. The rock bottom was getting ready, loading the bike in the car and driving to the bike shop (not riding anymore), parking in the car park at the opposite corner from the shop out of sight and watching everyone gather for the ride. I'd wait there in my car - feeling like crap - until they returned 90 min or so later. I'd then drive home with the windows closed and the heater on full blast so that I arrived home hot and sweaty as if I'd ridden and my wife/kids were none the wiser.

That was several years ago ... things have taken a bit of a turn... I'm now separated and have hit such rock bottom lows ... wow ... never thought I'd get that way ... anyway, what I'm leading up to is that I am now back on the bike no matter how bad i feel... it's way too easy to put the ride off for another day/week/month/year (been there - done that). I now live in the country where there is NO TRAFFIC and long, long, country roads, and lots of lovely scenery to admire as I ride... I have some great days and some bad days when riding but I always come home feeling less anxious and depressed.

My depression can last for days or weeks at a time and i know I'm just terrible to be with when it happens. Cycling allows me that space and freedom to be horrible and feel terrible and not be a burden to anyone and by the time I'm back home, I'm usually too sore, sweaty and knackered to feel horrible or terrible.

Good luck to all of you who are chased by the Black Dog and stay safe on those roads.
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby The Womble » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:07 pm

I know what the black dog feels like Dodgy. As much as people tell you it's not hard to just do something, they have absoluetly no idea.
It's good to see that you're back into it though. Keep pushing the dog! :)
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby CommuRider » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:29 pm

I have just realised that my body craves for exercise/cycling if I get too stressed; just let the stress out...the body tingles and voila, go out for a spin, feel refreshed and back to work.

I like it.
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby velocirapt » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:13 pm

Latest research suggests muscle activity releases beneficial myokines which have the anti inflammatory effects on the arteries, reduce clots and improve glucose metabolism in the body ..(good! ) .The biggest muscles of the thigh should also theoretically release more of these myokines.. (good news for riders!) . Moderate exercise also fights depression which increases risks to heart and immune defences. ..BUT too much exercise will cause muscle breakdown / cortisone and adrenaline release/ blood pressure increase/ stress out heart and vessels/ cause injuries.. (bad.!) particularly if there is any existing pathology like narrowed arteries or electrical heart problems. Fitness is not the same as healthiness and pain and exhaustion are there for a reason. We' ve heard it many times before but at end of day regular moderate exercise, a decent diet and gradual increases to training intensity are just common sense.... red wine's not bad either..
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby Lestep » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:14 pm

I've been a slob all my life. I was always an indoors kind of guy. I'm a computer geek, reader, poet, thinker... but had no kinesthetic ability. I was always chosen last at school when choosing teams (I'm not whinging - no one was nasty to me!!)

I've always tended toward a low mood and had given up on the idea of this ever changing.

As a High School teacher I found I was quite stressed and anxious.

Very reluctantly I bought a cheap mountain bike about 5 years ago, and started doing very short rides. My motivation: my body absolutely screaming at me to do something other than sit at a computer or sit reading a book.

I found I quite liked it, and slowly it became a habit.

VERY SLOWLY!

It was only last year that I started riding 12 kilometers a couple of times a week. To me this was simply revolutionary. Occasionally I tried a 20km ride.

Then, just in December 2010, I tried riding from Hornsby to Brooklyn and back. 40km! And I loved it. I think that was the day I became addicted to riding.

4 months on and I can't wait for my next ride.

Point is: my mood has massively, massively changed in the last 6 weeks or so as I've started regular long rides. I really can't believe it. It's like I am mentally bullet-proof all of a sudden. Nothing can touch me. My days are longer, more fruitful, and I have more energy. I feel extremely stable. I feel much more enduringly positive.

I feel like I've found a 'magic bullet' or something. Or like I've cracked 'the secret' to life.

You can slap me for taking 30 years to figure out that exercise is vital!!!
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby Livetoride » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:36 pm

For me if I don't ride for 2 days I'm grumpy, tired and won't sleep as my legs start to twitch. Commuter riding for me due to my job is a fantastic way to get the stress out of me as I ride home. More often than not I'm like a fully stretched elastic band by the time home time comes round. After my ride home I've managed to race it outa me and I'm (normally) nice and relaxed. Its the days that i dont ride and take the train, well lets just say my mental state of mind goes a bit like this

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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby Kaete » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:58 pm

A site, estabilshed 2002, which may be of interest:
http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/PhysicalActivityforMentalHealth/
well wishes all,
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby gtfpv cycler » Sat Apr 09, 2011 7:21 pm

over worked and undersexed !!! whats a man supposed to do !!! ride ride and ride . why ? it's cheap !, it wont cost you your house !, keeps you away from the porn shops with all the other fat blokes , its healthy . a friend of mine has recently cut down on his training , guess what he is up to - dating sites and all that goes with it , after getting divorced .
aside from all of this , for me , i've noticed when i'm cycling , nothing matters accept the destination, in the car i tend to think of all thats going on , which has its place , but on the bike , is the only time i'm not thinking about anything else . its amazing how your body does crave natural things after cycling . like water , and fruit . not coke or coffee and cake . i've never been a big drinker , enjoyed one or two daily , and about 2 cappacinos , , now i hardly drink 2 a week .
i think for a man , physical exercise is everything to keep the mind healthy . it doesnt have to be a bike ride , it can be a hobby , the bonus with a bike ride is it's both . :mrgreen:
forgot to mention , being a shift worker ( rotating) i was resorting to sleeping tablets to break the cycle of sleep patterns , a good long bike ride a few times a week and a few sprints , and i sleep real well .
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby Lizzy » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:53 am

I get a few suspicious glances from coworkers when they see me on the way back from the change room in the morning grinning like a twit for no apparent (to them) reason.

I'm also finding it a good work-home circuit breaker, especially on Fridays, when I might otherwise flop onto the couch and go to compost in front of the TV!
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby ICU812 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:00 am

The Womble wrote:Bipolar here. Putting myself out there by saying it. Type 2 with Rapid Cycling. Where most Bipolar sufferers can experience euphoric highs and manic lows maybe once or twice a month, I can cycle every 2-3 days. The oberall effect it has on me is a sometimes shocking temper and days on end when I cant see the point in getting out of bed. Two things have made a difference.
1) my wife. The most understanding and patient person Ive ever known, and
2)cycling. Even if I cant shake the shittyness of it all, it gives me the opportunity to vent and re-centre. Its the best drug if not the cheapest :D



I am bipolar too. I am always been pushed by my psych and doctor to keep up the riding. Have to say it does work.
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Re: How Important is Cycling/ Exercise to Your Mood/ Depress

Postby Kaete » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:48 pm

Hi all,

I so much agree with the comments made from members here relating the mood benefit to be gained from cycling.

For those on our list having Bipolar Disorder, this site may be of interest:
http://members.iinet.net.au/~fractal1/fhello.htm

The site has a section, entitled 'Exercise as Therapy'.
Click on: http://members.iinet.net.au/~fractal1/ftreat3.htm#phys

well wishes all,
Kaete
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