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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    How does your mood affect your ride, and vice versa?

    I'd be interested in people's thoughts regarding this question. To what extent does the mood you're in impact the kind of ride you have, if it does, and how does a ride affect your mood, if it does?

    If riding is a mood elevator, as I suspect it is, then why? I'd love a good "scientific" explanation. And if it is, then why are there days when I have to sort of talk myself into riding (when I'm grumpy, for example), even though I know from experience that a few miles down the road I'll be glad I got out there? If it's a mood elevator, why would I have to "talk myself into it" at all?

    Finally, are there any studies that explore the relationship between cycling and mental health?
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  2. #2
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Well, Deeg, as you know there are many studies about exercise and mental health, but I'd also be interested in seeing more cycling-specific research. Here's a little something I dug on up on Google. You've got to scroll down to reach the part about cycling: http://www.depressionet.com.au/articles/exercise.html

    I'm pretty lucky in that I've never, ever had to talk myself into a bike ride. In 25 years or so of regular cycling, my passion for the bike has only grown.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    To what extent does the mood you're in impact the kind of ride you have, if it does, and how does a ride affect your mood, if it does? Finally, are there any studies that explore the relationship between cycling and mental health?
    This is a great topic. I'm especially sensitive to my moods because I realized many years ago that regardless of our level of fitness or financial status -- both of which are perenially in the toilet fo me -- in the end, all that matter is how you feel inside. Being "rich" or "fit" is a purely emotional thing to me. And the older I get, the stonger I feel about it.

    Cycling usually brings me back to center, regardless of how good or bad a mood I'm in when I leave. There's a danger zone of 15 or 20 minutes for me, because when I ride directly from my home, I'm in dense, fast moving traffic immediately. If I'm in a bad/aggressive mood, or a good/giddy mood, I have to compensate or become road kill.

    I hit my most consistent "high" at about 30 miles, regardless of where I am emotionally when I start. That's my favorite length of ride, because I always come home in a great mood. I would like to start riding 30 miles everyday, rather than 60 every other day, or 100 every third day, or whatever. But, something always seems to come up that prevents me from keeping an everyday riding schedule.

    I read recently that bi-polar disorder can be addressed with extreme aerobic excersize. So, maybe that relates to what DG is asking about with regard to cycling and mental health.

  4. #4
    On the road again
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    DG - Good question. I agree there are many days where I have to force myself onto the bike and even start out by saying I'll just ride for 20 minutes to get myself moving, this is especially true in the winter when it is below freezing and the wind is blowing. I also agree that after 20-30 minutes on the bike my mood usually improves a bunch. Those endorphins are starting to pump through the system. I also have days where I can't wait to get on the bike and blow off some of the stress and "stink" of the day. Today was an interesting ride, I haven't had much sleep the past two nights due to work deliverables and a sick kid. My ride was definitely impacted by this as I didn't have the zip in the legs but I felt strong the whole ride and was in a good mellow groove to just keep rolling along at the same space push the hills a bit and just relax

    I've seen a couple of studies that associate cardio activity with a better mental state of mind, this looked at runners and cyclists

  5. #5
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Riding always improves my mood. I'm a grouch at work and I usually only ride Wednesday during the week. If I have a rough day, when I get home I know I'll feel better in a few miles on the bike, so I don't have to think about it, I just go. On weekends I'm always in a good mood at the ride start, but sometimes I'm disappointed in my performance on the ride. I suck, basicaly.

  6. #6
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    To what extent does the mood you're in impact the kind of ride you have, if it does, and how does a ride affect your mood, if it does?
    My wife and I need some form of exercise daily. Period. It may be a bike ride, or it may be a long walk, or it may be on the treadmill or trainer in winter. It has become addicting, I guess. But, as addictions go, I can't think of a better addiction.

    If we don't get the exercise our mood (and our sleep pattern) goes rapidly down hill. If we get our exercise, it goes rapidly uphill.

    I frequently approach my rides with a different "mood." This morning, for example, I felt a bit tired and wasted (I hit it real hard two days ago and have not yet fully recovered) so I deliberately set my mood on "slow and discover." Go slow, look at new places, relax, and really enjoy the roses. I even stopped for breakfast along the way. So my ride was influenced by my pre-ride "mood." That doesn't mean I didn't have a great time, I did. Just a different kind of great time.

    I sometimes compare my bicycling to different kind of vehicles.

    Somedays I am a sports car. Or I may be a tour bus. Or, perhaps a Buick, just cruising along. Then again, I may feel like a Jeep and crank out the Mtn Bike. Today, I took the Lemond because I have been riding the Windsor "utility" road bike a lot, and wanted something different. Today I was a sleek but deliberate Convertible.

    And, it is on those rides that I think up things like starting the 50+ Forum, the 50+BFBS Index, the Rogue's Gallery and the like.

    Perhaps I should stop riding?
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-08-06 at 10:01 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Why do you need to ask such questions? I mean just what is the deal here? I've had it with this kind of mindless.... oops! Sorry about that. I wasn't able to get out for a ride today. I'll revisit this topic tomorrow after I've had a long ride and morph back into a human.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
    Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831

  8. #8
    just over the next hill cruzMOKS's Avatar
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    I failied to make a graph, but let me explain it.
    On the left is recreational riders
    On the right is performance riders
    At the top are good condition riders
    At the bottom are poor condition riders.
    Bottom left is small time commitment
    Top right is large time commitment.

    Here is an hypothesis:
    A newbie would be in the bottom left. A pro racer would be in the top right.

    As you move from Recreational to Performance your mood increases unless you move too fast. As you move from bad physical condition to good physical condition your mood is better unless you move too fast. At some point you reach diminishing returns and do not gain better mental outlook. The closer you get to perfection the more danger you get of having a bad mood. Unless your goal is to be the best you can be. And realize that max time commitment to the bike will cost you in most other areas. IE if you are willing to pay the price you can approach perfection with a good mood. But this only comes if you have counted the cost and are willing to pay the price.

    Edit: A maintenance of what you have maintained will keep a good mood. While neglect of your progress will hurt your mood. So for each person there is an optimal point to be reached along the graph.
    Last edited by cruzMOKS; 06-08-06 at 09:56 PM.
    Enjoy the ride.
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  9. #9
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Ride more. Think less.

  10. #10
    Banned. Gary Diego's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruzMOKS
    Here is an hypothesis: A newbie would be in the bottom left. A pro racer would be in the top right.
    Here is another hypothesis, involving top right and bottom left:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
    Semper Fidelis
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    always puts me a better mood.
    many times I ride to just have peace, solititude, and to figure things out.
    A great time for reflective thoughts and new beginings.
    "Advantages Must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"

  12. #12
    Coyote!
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    >>>> To what extent does the mood you're in impact the kind of ride you have, if it does, and how does a ride affect your mood, if it does?

    Pre-ride mood? Kinda' moved beyond All That awhile back. Essentially, my way of life and mental health requires activity, so the day-to-day mood doesn't often enter the picture. If there's time [and I MAKE the time], I'm biking, running, or hiking every day. I believe keeping the mood alive is all about mixing it up, so I loop through the agenda and typically will be working toward some event, like a 5K run. In light of the event, I'm also mixing up my effort; jogs, lactate threshold training, ATP sprints, hills. . .and several times a week a slow steady "Flowers-That-Bloom-In-The-Spring-Tra-La" type jog/ride. Oh, and a day of rest. Bottom line, mood doesn't drive ride-type, rather mood is [mosty] overcome with habit.

    Post-ride mood? Endorphins, baby. . .HoooHAAA!

  13. #13
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Mood more or less affects whether I ride... once on a ride, I always feel good and love the fact I'm out on a bike but sometimes getting there is a problem. Many things like bad day at work, stress, chores, physical health will affect whether or not I can drag myself out to the garage and onto my bike. I sortof have to psych myself up at work so once I get home I'm ready to change clothes, grab my gear and go ride. One reason why I enjoy group rides, it's incentive to get my act together.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Only if I don't sleep well is it difficult for me to get up at 5:10 and hit the road. I have done it on little sleep and it isn't worth it.
    However about a year ago I remember telling my wife one morning as I returned from my exercise ride, "You know it says alot about your lifestyle if the high point of your day is over by 6:30 am."

    Don't imagine that I don't have good days, it's just that I really enjoy getting my ride in!

  15. #15
    Not So Senior Member jisaak's Avatar
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    My routine includes a ride Wed or Thur nite with another ride on the weekend - sometimes I can squeeze an extra ride if life permits. I can say that on the days when I am heading home from work to go for a ride I feel like a kid, sometimes I'm too anxious to get on the bike and forget something. At least I blame the forgetfullness on being anxious, not memory loss. More times than not a ride will help to ease the stress of the work day and clear the head, sometimes I try to find a solution to a challenge at work, sometimes the brain is on auto pilot.
    When I can't get out for a ride due to whatever, I'm told that I get a little moody, like a kid who didn't get what he wants.
    However I can say that my mood and general outlook is better after a ride than before.

  16. #16
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    I find the ride affects my mood, improving it immenely. Unless its too windy. bk

  17. #17
    Pinstriper SemperFi's Avatar
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    Mood doesn't affect whether I ride or not, but it's always better when I finish than when I started.
    Specialized Sequoia Elite
    Ride On!

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