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Old 05-25-04, 02:37 PM   #1
Moistfly
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Is cycling a legitimate means to fight depression?

I've noticed, now that i've taken up cycling that i'm generally a lot happier and calmer in my daily life. Especially immediately after I bike I feel happy and sometimes almost euphoric, it's great. I know that this is a common side-effect of most physical activity because of the chemical releases triggered in your brain. But i'm wondering if there have been studies linking physical activity (and cycling specifically) with increased happiness etc... in daily life. I ask primarily because my sister I know is quite depressed and I want to get her interested in cycling with me and would like to be able to show her the proven benefits.
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Old 05-25-04, 02:49 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moistfly
I've noticed, now that i've taken up cycling that i'm generally a lot happier and calmer in my daily life. Especially immediately after I bike I feel happy and sometimes almost euphoric, it's great. I know that this is a common side-effect of most physical activity because of the chemical releases triggered in your brain. But i'm wondering if there have been studies linking physical activity (and cycling specifically) with increased happiness etc... in daily life. I ask primarily because my sister I know is quite depressed and I want to get her interested in cycling with me and would like to be able to show her the proven benefits.
from this website - http://mentalhelp.net/psyhelp/chap6/chap6s.htm

"Exercise promises long-lasting results. In just the last couple of years, there have been a couple of interesting studies showing that an aerobic exercise program--stationary cycling or treadmill--for 30 minutes 3 times a week reduced major depression as much or more than medication (Zoloft). After 16 weeks, the remission rate was 60% for both groups..."

i assume stationary cycling and real cycling would be considered about the same (i would argue that real cycling would be better).
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Old 05-25-04, 02:59 PM   #3
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Yes there have been studies showing a strong corallation between exercise and reduced depression. There are many different reasons for depression but as far as I've seen exersize helps in a lot of cases, even me when I sit around for a few months not excersizing I start to get depressed of course its usualy winter and aound here that means on sunny day every two weeks and they are only 8 hour days at that, no snow just drizzle. Motorcycling helps(me at least) too so the outdoor wind senic thing probably gives bicycles a bonus over other smelly gym type workouts.
This goes for any activity, make sure you hook up newbies with the right gear and knowlege, if they are uncomfortable(cold, wet, hot, maladjusted shifters, etc) they will give up quickly- especialy if they are depressed and already don't feel like getting up and gone.
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Old 05-25-04, 03:45 PM   #4
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America has a frightening record of replacing physical effort with drugs.
Depressed? Medication.
Too fat? Medication.
Restless? Medication...
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Old 05-25-04, 03:55 PM   #5
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That's very true. Although I do think medicine has a place in treatment of people with chemical imbalances, that's just not an option for a lot of people and I think they lose hope not realizing what alternatives are out there.
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Old 05-25-04, 04:12 PM   #6
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Well there is definitely a place for chemical medical treatment but not with such overabundance.
Everytime I turn on the TV and radio, "ask your doctor to try lipitor", "ask you doctor for a FREE SAMPLE of claritin-D"... what the hell is lipitor? Well they won't tell you but what they will tell you is you should ask your doctor to try it.
So now instead of going to the doctor and having the doctor prescribe you medication because technically they know what's better for you, people are now going to their doctors and saying, "i don't think my life is as sunny as that commercial, give me that medication." The reason why they're treating it like candy in the US is because there's so much $$ to be had off the unsuspecting docile public.
I had a friend of mine a long time ago in jr.high who was on medication for attention deficit disorder. And I know it wasn't attention deficit, it was because he had a bad accent and teachers and classmates couldn't understand him and everyone ignored him so he would move around and act out a lot for attention.
I was on prozac and very briefly serzone when I was younger and made the conscious decision to quit and just get my life in order.
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Old 05-25-04, 04:12 PM   #7
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Ugghhh. This topic hits home. Last year, I started on antideps in an effort to deal with my wonderful marital issues. I felt fine on the drugs and decided that I really needed to do something for myself.

So I got back into cycling after 13 years off the bike. Now, no drugs and feeling great. That is, unless a ride is postponed due to weather or illness or work or kids or in-laws or aging parents or wife related scheduling issues.

The bike and all related to the bike keeps me sane.

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Old 05-25-04, 04:15 PM   #8
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That's encouraging to hear, now I just hope I can get her to trust me and try it
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Old 05-25-04, 05:09 PM   #9
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I figure it's one of the healthiest ways to deal with stress and depression, both physically and mentally.

Reasons?
1. You get fit.
2. You're not taking medication.
3. You gain a sense of physical strength and independence.
4. You learn to be self-sufficient in dealing with your prolems in a positive way.
5. Physical manifestation of mental pain. Once you can make it tangiable, you can let it pass you by.

Tons of other reasons, I'm sure. Is it a legitimate way to fight depression? Abso-friggin-lutely.
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Old 05-25-04, 08:09 PM   #10
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Totally agree with the drug thing in america. Take a pill for this, take a pill for that. Its really sad.

Yes I am addicted to drugs, that is if you call cycling a drug. Try and ride about three or more times a week. I feel MUCH better when I ride. If the weather is crappy and I can't get out for a ride more then a few days I get grouchy and depressed (a bit). Just ask my wife.

Last week I did not ride at all. 7 days without a ride. At least I was remodeling the house outside for a few days though. On the seventh day I went out for a ride and man I loved it. Felt like an alocholic who was getting his first drink after being dry for a week. Needless to say I came back to the house with a smile on my face.

Cycling DEFINITLY improves my mood and the way I feel.
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Old 05-25-04, 08:42 PM   #11
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anyone interested in this topic should check out a book called 'heft on wheels' by mike magnuson. he was a 250 lb booze hound, got into biking, lost a bunch of weight, etc. only problem was he became obsessed with biking to the point he was missing out on watching his daughter grow up. she didn't even recognize him one time he road by her school. so anyway, it's all about how he did two 180's. one to lose the weight and to stop drinking, and then another one to lose the biking obsession and eventually reach a good balance in his life.
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Old 05-25-04, 08:57 PM   #12
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Helps my ADD as well. I used to be depressed and ADD all to hell. But biking works better than any drug I've tried. Peace.
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Old 05-26-04, 12:29 AM   #13
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Pills don't help...Exercise of all forms gets you over depression..I am sure..Poll the members here..reasons for cycling..Get fit..Love to be out doors, fresh air, moving great distance under your own power.. Racing..Touring.. or just a love of the bike.
Finally...Many of us started some exercise regime because we were depressed. Some tragedy, disappointment in our lives.
For me, it was a divorce and Dad getting sick..Without exercise and getting involved, I would have gone nuts.
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Old 05-26-04, 04:48 AM   #14
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Its beter than taking drugs
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Old 05-26-04, 06:36 AM   #15
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It took a wake up scare or two to get me off my butt and into a gym and back into exercising regularly
Within 6 months my mind set had changed 180*. I felt good about myself the depression was lifted took myself off Zoloft after 2 VERY embarassing incidents with it.
The I met a friend who is SERIOUSLY into biking
And his enthusiasim led me to start riding.
It brought my blood preasure way down and did the same for my cholesterol numbers.
Then I thought, what the H, you have the time and the spare cash, so do something way diff.
So......got onto the I-net one eve and within a few hours a whole new field of interest opened, namely a trip to Europe later this summer,
Have been planning it, ordered an new bike to use there,and no more depression, anxiety, nor restlessness.
Dr. said go and enjoy and send cards to us
All the med evidence out there satifies me that excercise is a GOOD thing.
I think that those who turn their collective backs on it are really afraid to give it a shot or have no one to help motivate them
Another thing.......I never watch TV, haven't for years, one less stress producing thing and rarely read the newspapers any more.
When I return in the fall from Europe, I expect to be moving to the west from SoFlorida, not many hills here
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Old 05-26-04, 09:57 AM   #16
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Very cool I talked to my sister for awhile last night and convinced her to take up biking. I'm going to go out with her 1 day a weekend and she's committed to go out on her own 3 other days a week for at least a half hour, and what's more she agreed to let me plan out an entire diet for her. Now I just have to make sure it becomes an enjoyable experience for her and not a chore and hopefully I'll be making a post about all of her progress in a few months
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Old 05-26-04, 12:18 PM   #17
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And putting a gun to your head may be the single most effective means of negating all that ails you. But does that mean you shouldn't try to take an alternative route?

If medication is truly warranted, I don't have a problem with it. Medication can help quite a bit. But if you have the option of doing something like cycling instead, why not at least give it a shot? I mean, what have you got to lose except a medication dependancy and a few pounds?
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Old 05-26-04, 12:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
America has a frightening record of replacing physical effort with drugs.
Depressed? Medication.
Too fat? Medication.
Restless? Medication...
Depressed? Ride your bike.

Too fat? Ride your bike.

Restless? Ride your bike.

Much better.

It should be noted that no one activity is going to cure all that ails. I believe that everyone has depression, some just have a lot more of it that others. Those that are truly happy in this life need nothing to accomplish happiness. Neither wealth, nor drugs, nor a workout is needed by the man that knows how to be happy. Unfortunately not many of us really know how to do it without some outside stimulus. It's unknown why that is but I believe it is because we are never satisfied.

The upside of this is that it has made America the greatest country in the history of the world. Some may argue against that but i suspect they have never been hungry, or slept in the street. The downside is that we "require" a lot to be "happy." For some, eventually riding a bike will not be enough and they will require more. For others it may be just the little bit that helps to fulfill their happiness.

Last edited by Portis; 05-26-04 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 05-26-04, 12:39 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moistfly
Very cool . Now I just have to make sure it becomes an enjoyable experience for her and not a chore and hopefully I'll be making a post about all of her progress in a few months
Yeap.That is important..Start off with limited goals..make it fun..You get more serious as you get better, more fit. On your rides, do something rewarding..Fat free picnic at a beach..You will get hooked before you know it and gloomy days a sometime thing...Never is life always easy..that is why we need work on our outlets...Exercise..More reliable than pills.Think maybe side effects of some pills are counter productive.Not reasonable exercise.
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Old 05-26-04, 01:39 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger
It should be noted that no one activity is going to cure all that ails. I believe that everyone has depression, some just have a lot more of it that others. Those that are truly happy in this life need nothing to accomplish happiness. Neither wealth, nor drugs, nor a workout is needed by the man that knows how to be happy. Unfortunately not many of us really know how to do it without some outside stimulus. It's unknown why that is but I believe it is because we are never satisfied.
I don't know how people do it because myself, while I try to maintain a good outlook, at heart, I am materialistic and I deeply envy those who make do with what they have and are happy with it. No worries, no complains, they just live life with what they have.
One of the probems as I see it is a lot of people have trouble distinguishing between needs, wants, and excessive luxury. For regular exercise and commuting, I need a $300 bike, I want a $900 bike, and I dream about a $6000 bike. The problem is that as soon as I am within reach of the next one up, I get antsy, impatient, and needy again.
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Old 05-26-04, 01:59 PM   #21
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I don't know how people do it because myself, while I try to maintain a good outlook, at heart, I am materialistic and I deeply envy those who make do with what they have and are happy with it. No worries, no complains, they just live life with what they have.
One of the probems as I see it is a lot of people have trouble distinguishing between needs, wants, and excessive luxury. For regular exercise and commuting, I need a $300 bike, I want a $900 bike, and I dream about a $6000 bike. The problem is that as soon as I am within reach of the next one up, I get antsy, impatient, and needy again.

If you were materialistic, shouldn't you be envying those that have more than you? Also, i'd say I have no problem distinguishing them ... I just choose to ignore the distinction and get the things that will make me the happiest without impacting some other aspect of my life negatively. I agree with you though that it's in our nature to always want the next step up from where we're at ... I guess depending on how you look at it that's a good thing though.
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Old 05-26-04, 02:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
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If you were materialistic, shouldn't you be envying those that have more than you? Also, i'd say I have no problem distinguishing them ... I just choose to ignore the distinction and get the things that will make me the happiest without impacting some other aspect of my life negatively. I agree with you though that it's in our nature to always want the next step up from where we're at ... I guess depending on how you look at it that's a good thing though.
Well yes and no. I do envy them for what they have but I envy those who are happy with what they have for their happiness. I'm in eternal limbo over everything, unless I have what I perceive is the best of something that I can have, I'm not happy. Case in point, I was happy with my cheap $10 sunglasses, I bought a pair of natives that were 12x the price, still wasn't happy, returned them, ended up with the top of the line rudy project sunglasses and you know what, part of me says, "ok I'm happy" and the other part says, "you dumba**, you could've bought a whole bunch of cool stuff like a new heart rate monitor, new gloves, new shoes, a steak..". Being practical and excessive has always been a huge struggle for me.

Don't get me wrong, as an engineer by profession and a human being by nature, it's natural to want to have it better but in the end, I'm left wondering if I would be happier having more or appreciating what I have more.
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Old 05-26-04, 02:42 PM   #23
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slvoid, I think if allot of us were to be honest we'd fit right in with what you are saying. I know I do. It's a tough balance, and I don't have an answer, if you find one let me know.
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Old 05-27-04, 11:19 AM   #24
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As someone with serious depression and mood problems, I can say that cycling is helping. I am notoriously unfocused, although I have an obsessive personality. I have to strike a balance with it.

Hobbies I've been obsessed about:
4x4 Toyota's (lifelong on/off obsession)
R/C Gliders (lifelong on/off obsession)
Robotics (got started... built one small one but obsessed over it for a good week)
Music writing and guitar playing (now its more balanced)
And now... cycling

Does cycling help me mentally? Yes. Do I still need my medication? OH YEAH. There are some things that endorphines and a 'happy feeling' don't fix. Do I think I'll be able to go off my meds if I cycle constantly? No, but I do think I'll be able to decrease my dosage. I had to double it last year because of stress and noticing that I was lagging between doses. I hope to eliminate that part.

However at 315lbs, I can't lose enough weight. That is the reason I started cycling. My cycling buddy is getting over a divorce and trying to be less introverted and more outgoing. Its helping both of us!

In other words, you can't lose.
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Old 05-27-04, 12:12 PM   #25
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"Is cycling a legitimate means to fight depression?"

I hope so.
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