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The mental health benefits of a cycling holiday

a man with a bicycle in front of a mountain

Photo by Sunil Chandra Sharma on Unsplash

It’s well known that exercise of any kind can be hugely beneficial for both your physical and mental health. Going on holiday in itself is greatly beneficial to our mental health, but when paired with this exhilarating sport you create a powerful healthy effect. Feeling the wind on your body as you speed down a hill, or the burn in your legs as you climb a mountain, just feels incredible.

As an added bonus, cycling holidays are a very sustainable way to enjoy a well deserved break. If you’re looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your holiday, loading your bikes and heading out to explore new horizons is a great option.

Throughout this article, we will look at three big ways cycling can positively impact your mental health.

Boost your mood

There is no doubt about it. Just as runners get a “runner’s high”, cyclists get their cousin, the “cycling high”. This is one of the main reasons a lot of people take up cycling in the first place, and subsequently embark on international cycling adventures. It becomes a positive addiction. Cycling helps to pump blood quickly around your body, leading to a rapid release of endorphins and other happy hormones like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.

A holiday of any description has the power to take our minds away from the toils of daily life. But having an activity to focus on, such as cycling, is a great way to travel more mindfully and stay in the present moment. This can help to focus your mind on more positive thoughts, relieving stress and boosting your mood. Not to mention, if you’re the type of traveller who enjoys exploring the local area and engaging with different cultures when on holiday, cycling is a great way to see more than you might be able to on foot. Just hopping on your saddle and taking in the sights and sounds of a new destination does wonders for both your physical and mental health.

Sleep more soundly

If your circadian rhythm is out of whack, you’re not likely to be sleeping as well as you should. And it’s been proven that cycling regularly can help to synchronise your circadian rhythm. This, in turn, helps to lower your levels of stress hormones, which can make getting a good night’s sleep easier.

In a similar way, exercise (when performed at certain times of the day) has also been shown to help our body clocks to realign with the new surroundings when travelling to a different time zone. You don’t have to take on a cycling marathon each day of your holiday to feel the benefits, either. Even a short ride each day will provide several benefits to your sleep health, helping you to wake up each day more refreshed and ready for another tour on two wheels.With its stress-busting and brain-building benefits, cycling is the perfect accompaniment for a holiday.

Meet new people

Everyone knows that cycling, or doing any exercise for that matter, is always more fun when you share the experience with others. Whether you’re with friends, in a group, or with family, coming together with like-minded people can improve your mental health to no end.

A lot of cyclists choose to combine their passion with a holiday, and there are a number of guided road cycling holidays in France, Italy, and Spain. Some road cycling holidays are not for the faint-hearted though, so be sure to check before you book.

For solo travellers, a cycling holiday is a great opportunity to meet new people who also enjoy exploring on two wheels. When it comes to family holidays, the kids are sure to love whizzing around on their bikes with their new friends, and it can be a great way to create lifelong memories.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways that a cycling holiday can boost your mental health, as well as providing immeasurable benefits to multiple other aspects of your life. Remember to always run your bikes through a safety check before you set off, and research your route ahead of time to ensure it isn’t going to be too challenging if you have kids in tow.

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