Happiness is a broadly defined term and will have different meaning for most people. An emotional state of well-being, happiness can be defined as:
Happiness is an emotional state characterised by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfilment.
While happiness has many different definitions, it is often described as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction. Scientists have been studying happiness and their work has led to some interesting findings about what makes us happy, and how cycling specifically enhances our happiness. This is what they've found:
It’s all about the science!
There is a lot of science behind chemicals in the brain, neurons and neurotransmitters, lots of them influence our mood. For the purpose of this article the important one is serotonin, which affects mood, appetite, sleep, memory, learning and much more. Research has shown that low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression and even suicide. Exercise, in particular aerobic exercise, increases both serotonin production and release. In other words, exercise increases our levels of ‘happy’ chemicals and cycling is a great way to regulate your mood and feel happier.
Improved shut eye!
A lack of sleep can result in many problems relating to our mental health and emotional well-being. Getting a good night’s sleep is directly related to our mood and to feeling happier. Research studies have shown that high-intensity exercise (like cycling) results in increased slow wave sleep or deep sleep. Also that regular exercise not only helps you to fall asleep faster but it also deepens your sleep.
Fitness feel good!
There is a direct correlation between exercise, physical fitness and emotional wellbeing and when you feel great, you feel happier. Cycling is a great cardio workout that gives you a lot of bang for your buck in terms of the amount of calories you burn when cycling. So it stands to reason that the more physically fit you are the healthier and more active you feel day to day – all important elements to living a happier life.
Another way that cycling is good for you and makes you feel great is that it gets you off the couch and outdoors. Yes you can cycle indoors on a stationary bike but you won’t get the same benefit both physically and mentally as you would from cycling outdoors. For one thing it's less boring, you have a lot more to see and hear outdoors. Secondly you get a Vitamin D boost from being outdoors which is great for your bone health but also great for your mood. Finally studies have shown that exposure to nature can actually lower our stress levels and elevate our mood. So getting outdoors for a daily cycle will make you feel happier.
All of the points above prove that regular cycling will make you happier so the only question is are you going to make cycling part of your happiness regimen?
In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt ‘Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.’
To get started you are going to need a bike! Check out our full range of bikes designed and hand built right here in Dublin…