BRAIN BENEFITS OF THE BIKE: How spin helps your mental health
January is Mental Health Awareness month. At YYC Cycle, as much as we are passionate about physical well-being, we are also very passionate about breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health. This week, we are going to dive into the mental health benefits associated with your 50 minute ride.
Meet your Happy Chemicals
Endorphins - The spin high. Endorphins kick in within the first few minutes of your class and carry you through right to the end. They mask pain and create a feeling of bliss.
Dopamine - Dopamine elicits a feeling of motivation, accomplishment and progress, and is released when you set a goal and achieve it. Remember when you are on beat for the first time? The first time you do stayed up the whole jog? The first time you stayed on the beat the entire class? Everytime you find that next level of what you are capable of, you are feeling the Dopamine.
Serotonin - Your Serotonin gives you a sense of pride and a feeling of status - not comparing yourself to others, but rather a former version of yourself. Serotonin is released as you embody and practice our mantra: Stronger Than Yesterday.
Oxytocin - This is your brain’s loving bond chemical. You aren’t alone in that spin room - everyone in that room on those bikes is going through that class with you, you are on beat together and you are redeeming those sweaty high-fives. The rhythm of connection and camaraderie in the class is releasing this happy chemical for you.
The first time you do anything new in your life it can be scary. Spin is not easy, it can feel intimidating, and certainly the lights, music and movements can be a lot to take in all at once. But every time you step back into that space you grow, you learn, and your self-esteem grows. You are resilient; your body and your mind are resilient! Self-esteem is a practice, doing what you said you are going to do, and committing to your own integrity.
Coming to spin is less about how you look and more about how you feel, about what your body accomplishes. This feeling comes from the internal instead of external. Think about when that weight track hits, the motivator fills up the space, but you get a minute to check in with yourself, you get to give yourself the pep talk, you have crushed half of the class - you are stronger than you know.
We are built to move. Our body needs to move every single day in various and diverse ways. Stress and anxiety are often the result of an overthinking mind that won’t stop. When you step into the spin room there is no space for that. The lights, music and community take over - which in turn, gives your thinking mind a break.
Every single motivator brings something different. No matter whose class you go to you will walk away with a nugget of wisdom that’s going to support and improve your mental health. So try different Motivators, see who gets you out of your comfort zone and thinking mind the most.
Stress reduction connects directly to your happy chemicals. This is why the stretch at the end of class is so important. We can’t be all effort all the time. Our time to stretch is what honors the slow down after the speed up.
From the moment you walk in you are greeted by smiling faces. If it is your first time, you are guided through each step of what to expect and where to go. If you have come to the studio before then you know we are more than a room with some spin bikes.. You see the bikergang - they have become your friends and your team and that is when your energy shifts. You step into that room and you are a collective - you aren’t on your own anymore. From the moment the first race begins to the last stretch when you get your sweaty pat on the back from your neighbour, we are in this together. Finish it off with that final round of applause to acknowledge yourself and every person who carried you through this.
The Bikergang community goes beyond the spin room. Outside of that space we have events like the Give’r charity wrap-up, your coveted 50 and 500 class water bottles, collaborative events and charity rides; all of these little things creating one big community that connects us all and supports everyone through their own journey.
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At YYC Cycle we want to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and be a part of your journey! We are so excited to be a part of Make Some Noise for the third year in a row. Join us next week, January 30th for a DJ spin event in support of Mental Health Initiatives at SAIT. Sign up here!
A special thank-you to Marin McCue for her support in writing this blog! For more amazing information on your body, mind and spirit visit Marin’s blog: http://www.dopeame.com/blog/ and check our her upcoming events and workshops focused on mental health strength training: http://www.dopeame.com/workshops-scheduled/