When I began this project, I was honestly very… unenthusiastic. My interests seemed to have nothing to do with anything even remotely related to bicycles. I thought, “maybe I could make something up”, but with this being my first speech, I wanted it to be something that I actually cared about, that represented who I was. Then, literally last night, as I was hit with the realization that I had no idea what I was going to talk about, realized how much I was stressing over thing that, in the long run, won’t have a detrimental effect on my life. Why was I so nervous? Something that has consumed me from a very young age was my struggle of dealing with anxiety. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety at the age of 4. It is something that will never go away, and it is a part of me, no matter how well I can keep it under control. Then, it hit me. Bicycling is not only healthy physically, but it must have some sort of therapeutic effects, such as running and other forms of exercise does. When I researched it, I found that there was an overwhelming amount of information on the therapeutic benefits of bicycling, and that is what I want to share with you today.
- In the UK, one of the main reasons why people don’t show up for work is that they are under stress. This is made more common because people are constantly on their mobile phones, which means that they will be more likely to be exposed to stress causing factors.
- Several studies have shown that exercises including cycling make us smarter. Danish scientists who set out to measure the benefits of breakfast and lunch among children found diet helped but that the way pupils travelled to school was far more significant. Those who cycled or walked performed better in tests than those who had travelled by car or public transport, the scientists reported last month. Another study by the University of California in Los Angeles showed that old people who were most active had 5 per cent more grey matter than those who were least active, reducing their risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
What effect has our dependence on the automobile had on our collective mental health? What role does passive transportation play in mood and attention disorders, especially for children? What therapeutic effects could a shift to more active transportation modes have for people who suffer from these disorders? What are the social costs of an environment that enforces auto dependence? Does cycling have special benefits that other exercise modes don’t?
These are important questions. We should be trying much harder to answer them.