Riding bikes – counter-productive for dealing with stress?

Home Forum Bike Forum Riding bikes – counter-productive for dealing with stress?

Viewing 45 posts - 1 through 45 (of 61 total)
  • Riding bikes – counter-productive for dealing with stress?
  • Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Riding bikes is good when you are stressed isn’t it? Or not? Can it add to your stress levels, for example, by comparing how you normally ride a piece of singletrack when you are chilled. Then ride it when you are stressed – do you take a good line, take a tumble?

    Or a climb? No problem normally but with high stress levels, you wuss around in the wrong gear, chain comes off.

    Result – you come back from a ride vowing to join the local knitting circle 😥

    So … share your experiences guys and gals 😀

    chunkychew
    Member

    Almost always makes me feel better. Even if I don’t ride that well it gives me time to think… cycling is clever.

    Premier Icon darrell
    Subscriber

    getting away and being alone on a bike regardless of stress levels is brilliant and i value this time i have.

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    No matter how stressed I am, it’s gone once I point down the trail and give it the beans.
    Absolutely brilliant way to forget about lifes worries I find. All that matters is the bike and the trail….the ‘real world’ seems so far away it’s irrelevant.

    The only negative would be if you’re just riding by way of procrastinating on some work you need to do…in which case that stress will be there once you get back home/work etc.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
    Subscriber

    I’d have to say yes and I was actually thinking about this earlier today.

    Generally I’m a grumpy bad tempered ****, but since I’ve started cycling 6 days a week my general mood has been much better!

    jackthedog
    Member

    For me, riding is like being in a bubble. The world and all associated nonsense are a hazy memory. It’s wierd, real life just seems so far away.

    Without that escape I struggle to find sense out existance.

    theflatboy
    Member

    i would ride all day every day if i could, nothing else work-wise or other aspects of life-wise gets a look-in when out on the bike. awesome.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
    Subscriber

    Sorry, got that the wrong way round. I’d say cycling is good for dealing with stress.

    noteeth
    Member

    During a rather unhappy period of my life, I lost the ability to even enjoy going for a spin. I’d head out… and then turn back… 🙁

    Nowadays: going for a ride never fails to cheer me up, even when I’m riding like a klutz. It’s just nice to be on a bike, in the woods, with mates or alone… Simple. 😀

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    I think it’s the endorphins that are released through physical exersize, isn’t it? That makes us feel better.

    Personally, like most here, I always feel better for a ride

    nukeproof
    Member

    I was having a rubbish cycle today and it should have been perfect: justing messing on the singletrack around Peaslake/Pitch. In the end I gave up and just sat in the sunshine with a mug of tea watching the world go by…bliss. 🙂

    Still I was out for 4 hours and got none of the things I should have been doing done so the anxiety levels are now up…in fact I better get to my son’s school or I’ll be late

    Cycling reduces my stress levels but life quickly catches back up with those few stolen hours 🙁

    steve_b77
    Member

    Don’t really get stressed to be honest, but it is good fun to ride

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Thanks for your replies.

    To put it in perspective, if the stress one is dealing with is in the top five most stressful life events, should that make a difference?

    In other words, can riding be an added pressure and possibly resulting in a unnaturally high heart rate?

    Would definitely agree that endorphins are released but just wondering whether in some circumstances exercise is not a good idea. Just thinking out loud really.

    clubber
    Member

    It’s not so much a stress-reducer for me but just a way to totally clear your head – I tend to just focus on the riding when out and forget all the other million things going on.

    Don’t think I’ve ever felt worse after going out mtbing than before.

    I guess when under a huge amount of stress your immune system could be affected.

    So maybe just do some more chilled rides and not push yourself too hard? I also have had a lot of panic attacks and things and have been using a relaxation CD by Glenn Harrold which is very good and helps get your breathing under control.

    sofatester
    Member

    I would have been up a watertower with a Barrett .50 cal by now if it wasn’t for mountainbiking. 😕

    So yes, it does help.

    Gary_M
    Member

    I find my commute great for dealing with stress. Some of the route is on busy roads but the last 10 miles are car free. My mind just drifts off. Much better now its daylight as I can relax a fair bit more. Had a bit of a stressful day today and can’t wait to get on the bike at 5pm.

    mrsflash
    Member

    I find road riding or running better for clearing your head than mtb. You can just empty your head and concentrate on the rhythms.

    mtb is good for filling your head, and gives you a more of a high, but road and running better for emptying your head and realising that it might all be ok afterall.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    What MrsFlash says, I prefer road riding to MTB for dealing with stress. I’m going through a really bad patch at the moment – been made redundant, no sign of a new job, less than no money but once I’m out on the bike it all just goes away. Fantastic way of dealing with stress, I feel so much better for it. If I haven’t been out on the bike for whatever reason I have a really bad nights sleep, but sleep much better after I’ve been out on the bike during the day.

    Ride your bike, don’t worry about ‘training’ or whatever, just get out there, it’ll do you the world of good.

    All the best.

    As Dave Smith, coach and sports psycho said “mountain biking to think about nothing; road riding to think about everything”.

    If you want some time to ponder life and think about what’s going on, then road riding’s great. If you want to forget all your troubles, then mountain biking’s the thing. I tend to agree with that, which I think means I disagree with MrsF and Crazy-legs.

    If I’m stressed, mountain biking helps, provided I can get past the hassle of getting changed, finding my kit, lights, shoes etc. On the road there’s not much else to occupy my mind so I just think over the things that are going on in my life, which is sometimes a good thing, sometimes not so good.

    BTW, I don’t think riding while stressed can do you any physical harm unless you’re bordering on a heart attack already.

    Premier Icon Potdog
    Subscriber

    Sometimes if I’m stressed I’ll just ride to somewhere beautiful and sit for a while. No pressure to ride like a god, just time to myself.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    If I’m stressed, mountain biking helps, provided I can get past the hassle of getting changed, finding my kit, lights, shoes etc. On the road there’s not much else to occupy my mind so I just think over the things that are going on in my life, which is sometimes a good thing, sometimes not so good.

    I find it the other way, road riding is simple. My mind just wanders, I think about the ride, the bike, the route. Road riding is great for just entering a sort of alternative slightly dreamy world. MTBing, I concentrate on the ride/line choice/gear choice etc but if I’m distracted (by life stress or whatever), I end up riding like a prat and that’s just annoying.

    Of course, on the cross bike, the darkness closes in, the red mist descends and it’s hard enough to remember to breathe, but that’s something different altogether.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Mountain biking for me can be good for stress if it’s a good ride. If you head up to the hills on a sunny day and you have all day to just bat across the moors, with good descents and all, and you’re on top of things then fine.

    If on the other hand you have loads to do but you head out anyway; your bike’s not working properly, the same old dull trails are muddy, it’s wet, and you fall off lots – you have a miserable time and it just makes matters worse…

    Depends on how you want to approach it, I think.

    I absolutely love going where I like, for how long I need to at the speed that feels right.

    The more stressed I feel the harder I go. I have built up my stamina quite a bit! As mentioned above I think it’s about the important disconnect from everything which does not involve that ride. Even mishaps, like stacks and flats become a positive when I can think “Right, **** it, these things will happen and ONWARD!”

    I like the feeling of having really pushed myself really hard and arriving home near exhaustion. Wonderful feeling of contentment all of next day.

    kevonakona
    Member

    Removes stress everytime, even those horrible commutes when there’s an eejit in a barely controled motor. I’m slightly worried that i can’t ride for the next three w/e’s. So it fun in the darkness time 🙂

    Premier Icon snowslave
    Subscriber

    I think for sure it helps on many levels. Firstly there’s whatever you get from the ride itself – the adrenaline, effort, cameraderie, views, clearing your head, mud, whatever.

    Secondly and just as important there’s the discipline of making time to do something you enjoy, even if it’s only a couple of hours a week.

    Sometimes this helps you spot “stuff” for what it is…

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    I was having a horribly stressful time with work this morning, so decided to just get out and take advantage of the sun and dry trails.

    Definitely feel less stressed now, even though I haven’t solved all the work-related problems – I can see that they’re not as serious as I thought this morning.

    I agree with jackthedog – when I’m riding I’m in a bubble and other thoughts can only kind of bounce off the outside surface of it. I can see problems but they don’t sink in, sort of thing.

    Premier Icon snowslave
    Subscriber

    snigger….

    Premier Icon EdwardH
    Subscriber

    I find heading out on the bike, both road and mountain to be completely relaxing and a great de-stressing tool. In fact I have taken to using this to my advantage with Mrs H, as when I am crabity and bad tempered she sends me off out for a bike ride 😛

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    LOL @ RudeBoy. 🙂

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    i rode a lot during my marriage break up, de-stressed me a lot as i could work stuff out in my head and release some of the frustration and anger into the pedals, i’ve never climbed so fast before or since! so for me yea it helps

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I couldn’t exist without the stress relief of mtbing. Road riding is ok, but the irritation of other road users is always there.
    I’ll take a day on the mtb (even if its a bad one) over.. well almost anything really, except maybe a bluebird day on the snowboard (but they’re rather few and far between).

    when I am crabity and bad tempered she sends me off out for a bike ride [:P]
    Great idea – I shall point this out to mrsdezb in future!

    Not sure if its the same answer, but going out and doing what you really enjoy doing makes you more relaxed. Unless you are going to get into trouble for doing it ( like missing a wedding bacause you were surfing) I think that because you have asked this on amountain bike forum then the answer to ‘Does mountain biking make you less strssed?’ is going to be yes.
    I windsurf alot and that has the same effect, 3 hours of blasting about in ,hopefully, bright sunshine leaves me pretty laid back , a feeling which can last for 2 days .
    Not sure where i would be without either , in a dark place probably.
    I am lucky enough to be able to see the sea from my front room , after a rubbish day just 10 mins with a cup of tea just sat watching the sea is very calming.
    I also find riding to ‘angry ‘ music makes me ride a little harder, and in a reverse way de -stresses me at the same time.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Well, it probably didn’t help that firstly I was nearly taken out on a roundabout by some stupid female driver with an interesting lane choice. Bit of shouting and hand signals from me naturally 👿

    With just about every bit of singletrack I managed to get my line wrong and climbing was a nightmare. Again my heart rate was getting scarily high, had to stop for a few minutes to get it down. Rode a bit more and it happened again.

    All in all I have come back feeling more stressed than when I went out 😥

    Upon reflection I reckon that Potdog’s suggestion of sitting for a while somewhere nice can help.

    Oh and mrsflash please please please don’t try and talk me into getting a road bike! I do want one but can’t afford it 🙄

    Am looking forward to a happier day tomorrow 🙂

    Moses
    Member

    It may be anathema to one so fit and fast as yourself, but have you considered a singlespeed? I find that the lack of wrong gears and the simplicity of the things make them more calming than 27-geared full-sus wonderbikes. It’s easier to justify taking it easy, and also to concentrate on the ride rather than the bike.
    But I know what you mean about those days when it all goes wrong and you end up not having enjoyed yourslef.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    Hello Moses! Love the flattery … if only it were true 😆

    Actually I was on the singlespeed today and I do agree with your comment on the simplicity. It’s really quite therapeutic normally but today it all just went pear-shaped!

    Hello singletrackmind! I’ve figured out who you are! You didn’t seriously miss a wedding did you? You’re lucky to be close to the sea.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    road bikes come in Ti CG 😉

    TimothyD
    Member

    I find approaching a ride and not having any expectations of things going well helps when i’m stressed;ie just thinking about the act of going for a ride itself being a change from what i’m stressed about seems to help,rather than wanting a ride to go well so that i stop feeling stressed,which doesn’t seem to work.

    Exercise and greenery are both good for stress,so if i ride somewhere with fields i always feel better when i get back.

    Friction thumbies are quite good for not having to cope with missed or wrong gears,you can always stay in gear without any barrel twiddling needed.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    That’s why I don’t like the MTB when I’m stressed, if it’s all going badly it just makes me feel worse – I’ve abandoned rides in the past where I’ve been riding like a bag of spanners and I just go home pissed off at my inability to ride things. Road is just…simpler.

    Anyway, what’s up C_G? A problem shared is a problem halved and all that…

    stravaiger
    Member

    Less MTB = more stress for me – mind is focused on the riding and I forget everything else. Always come back feeling good -(almost)-only exception is when I’ve been on the road bike too much and the off road skills have slipped.

    Virtually gave up running when I moved to my current job – as all the problems of the day just went round in my brain like a fair

    Oddly swimming is OK as well – tho definitely doesnt give the same buzz as a couple of hours on the local trails.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    rocketdog – you calling me a Ti tart??!! Nah, road bike will be carbon 😉

    Must say these comparisons between mtb and road make interesting reading – everyone’s different. The point about greenery is a good one – there’s been a distinct lack of picnic rides! Will do something about that – revisit some old haunts.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    Tunes on and MTB, great for sending my stress/depression levels down. Just about time to head out on another government sponsored ride 8)

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Just about time to head out on another government sponsored ride

    Early afternoon for mine. Off to a vocational training course now – it sounds better at the job centre to say I attended rather than spent the day destressing by riding! 😉

Viewing 45 posts - 1 through 45 (of 61 total)

The topic ‘Riding bikes – counter-productive for dealing with stress?’ is closed to new replies.