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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 05-03-14, 05:50 AM   #1
cycleobsidian
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Cycling and anxiety relief

Hello all,

I have a career that puts me in the public eye daily, and I handle it just fine.

However, I do find that when I go to a party or other event where I am expected to socialize, I find that if I go to the event by bike , rather than by car, I am much calmer and relaxed when meeting other people when I get there.

I noticed this first when I was 18 and into running. I would run long distances before going to a party. By the time I got to the party, I would feel a sense of calm wash over me, instead of anxiety which is often what I would feel when meeting new people. It made the experience much more enjoyable (and the beer tasted much better too )

Fast forward 30+ years. I still feel anxiety in certain social situations, but my "go-to" drug is now bike riding.

Any one else have the same stress solution?
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Old 05-03-14, 05:53 AM   #2
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Cycling is my zen space. All the baggage and negative energy goes into moving the bike. The more stressed orcangry I am the harder I ride. At the end of 200km its... gone.
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Old 05-03-14, 03:23 PM   #3
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Any type of exercise is good for mental and emotional health.. It really doesn't matter if it's cycling, yoga , weight lifting, martial arts, running, competitive team sports, they are all very beneficial for our physical and mental wellbeing.
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Old 05-05-14, 07:06 AM   #4
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It does my daughter a world of good...
Even just a couple miles has a noticeable impact.
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Old 05-05-14, 10:29 AM   #5
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I love it when this topic comes up! I'm a therapist and recommend exercise to all my patients. The fact that my bike sits in my office all day and they see me come and go by bike tends to lend a bit of credibility to my recommendations. For what it's worth, the internets are full of fun articles on cardiovascular exercise and stress reduction.
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Old 05-05-14, 12:44 PM   #6
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I love it when this topic comes up! I'm a therapist and recommend exercise to all my patients. The fact that my bike sits in my office all day and they see me come and go by bike tends to lend a bit of credibility to my recommendations. For what it's worth, the internets are full of fun articles on cardiovascular exercise and stress reduction.
From personal experience:

Heavy lifting (once you get strong enough to lift heavy) is a marvelous mood enhancer...
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Old 05-05-14, 07:01 PM   #7
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I also find that cycling (or any exercise, but cycling is my favorite!) helps with my depression/anxiety issues. It doesn't solve all my issues, but I do find that if I don't exercise for a period of time, I get super depressed and full of rage.

I've also found that when I have the time, it works great as an antidote to insomnia and circadian rhythm re-setter. If my clock gets all screwed up, a nice 50+ mile ride is usually good to set things straight...
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Old 05-06-14, 12:21 AM   #8
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I find running to be the best mood enhancer of all time (besides one other thing), but bicycling is a close second. I ride to work every day, and no matter the traffic or weather, I almost always arrive in a pretty good mood. The morning coffee tastes a little better if you've done a few steep hills beforehand.
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Old 05-06-14, 08:34 AM   #9
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Riding at 25 mph and feeling like I'm dying helps me think about keeping the pace. Heads not thinking about life and the stress so yeah, mood enhancer/ anxiety relief.
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Old 05-06-14, 08:44 AM   #10
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As my own anecdote, I can say with almost certainty that I'm more stressed when I drive a motor vehicle to work.
My bike has been out of service for into the second week now (I have a new one on order that hasn't come in yet) and the car commute is really getting to me.
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Old 05-06-14, 08:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
I also find that cycling (or any exercise, but cycling is my favorite!) helps with my depression/anxiety issues. It doesn't solve all my issues, but I do find that if I don't exercise for a period of time, I get super depressed and full of rage.

I've also found that when I have the time, it works great as an antidote to insomnia and circadian rhythm re-setter. If my clock gets all screwed up, a nice 50+ mile ride is usually good to set things straight...
Me too.

Exercise is first on any list of "natural" remedies for depression. Also being outdoors in daylight helps with a little Vitamin D...

I also get terribly depressed, almost like a cabin fever, if I can't get out for extended periods.

I like your idea about a 50+ mile ride. I'm going to try one pretty soon to see if it helps my insomnia.
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Old 05-06-14, 09:14 PM   #12
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Would this ease the anxiety or make you poop yourself?
A Formula One Lap with Simona De Silvestro - YouTube
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Old 05-07-14, 04:06 AM   #13
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Riding for me helps set my head straight by the time i'm at my destination, if not before. Put the earpods in, go to biking playlist, press play, set off.

Even on days i just want to lump in a chair or bed, once i get going, i am SO glad i did get going, even in brutal weather. It's amazing.

Living car free for me, means that it's no extra money out of my pocket to sit at a light through a few cycles, stop at a stop sign, look up and enjoy a sunrise or sunset, or rainbow or just the nearby sounds, sights, and smells..... You can definitely sense in some other people the tension they have vs when i'm taking a rest or stopping in somewhere for a bite or a swig of water from a fountain. Some of these people see my bike or my helmet, and they get this look like they ish they could join me, or get a bike themselves. I want them to, so this is why i fight hard for transportation equality, because the more easily people can move, especially on bicycles, the better off society will be from a mental health perspective let alone the other benefits. Everyone should be able to have their stresses evaporate away with their sweat as they go about their daily routine.

- Andy
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Old 05-07-14, 01:43 PM   #14
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Riding for me helps set my head straight by the time i'm at my destination, if not before. Put the earpods in, go to biking playlist, press play, set off.

Even on days i just want to lump in a chair or bed, once i get going, i am SO glad i did get going, even in brutal weather. It's amazing.

Living car free for me, means that it's no extra money out of my pocket to sit at a light through a few cycles, stop at a stop sign, look up and enjoy a sunrise or sunset, or rainbow or just the nearby sounds, sights, and smells..... You can definitely sense in some other people the tension they have vs when i'm taking a rest or stopping in somewhere for a bite or a swig of water from a fountain. Some of these people see my bike or my helmet, and they get this look like they ish they could join me, or get a bike themselves. I want them to, so this is why i fight hard for transportation equality, because the more easily people can move, especially on bicycles, the better off society will be from a mental health perspective let alone the other benefits. Everyone should be able to have their stresses evaporate away with their sweat as they go about their daily routine.

- Andy
Good post with lots of good points.

I never realized it before, that bike riding reduces stress not only because of the exercise, but because of those relaxing little stops you make along the way. It also makes sense that society would benefit if more people were relaxed and sane.
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Old 05-07-14, 07:00 PM   #15
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Yea, you're more connected to the world around you, so you feel your place in the world more, which can be very deeply profound and centering.

- Andy
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Old 05-09-14, 08:02 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
Cycling is my zen space. All the baggage and negative energy goes into moving the bike. The more stressed or angry I am the harder I ride. At the end of 200km its... gone.
When I'm stressed or angry, hitting a car with a baseball bat can get me into a zen space too
Really helps!

Doing something physical helps anyways.
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Old 05-09-14, 10:12 AM   #17
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The road is my church...On days with a tailwind.
On days with a headwind it's my hell.

But I def. use the ride home to decompress and sort out aggression and other issues from the job. Might also have something to do with the 'runners high' that people get when you exercise.
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Old 06-02-14, 09:45 PM   #18
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I have a one hundred percent disability rating for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (long story) and the bike has been a major aspect of my recovery. We find that the monster responds very well to riding.
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Old 06-02-14, 11:50 PM   #19
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I have a one hundred percent disability rating for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (long story) and the bike has been a major aspect of my recovery. We find that the monster responds very well to riding.
I'm glad it's helping. My son was greatly helped by "bike therapy" after a car accident.
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