Your brain on bikes

Cycling can boost cognitive function

We’re all familiar with the physical benefits of riding a bike. But did you know it’s good for brain health, too? Here are just a few ways that pedaling boosts your cognitive function:

Mental well-being: Of course, regular activity helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression, but those benefits are magnified by biking in natural surroundings. That’s because spending time outdoors is a stress-reducer.

Memory and reasoning: Cycling, and all aerobic exercises, help maintain adequate blood flow to the brain, one explanation for why active people are more likely to stay sharp into old age. But even young adults say time in the saddle helps them think, and some research has shown that cycling at moderate intensity for just 30 minutes immediately improves one’s memory, reasoning and planning abilities.

Greater connection: Practicing a motor skill like cycling or hitting a punching bag is thought to increase the integrity of white matter fiber tracts, which connect different regions of the brain.