to summarize, princeton university researchers recently compared rats that run to rats that don't run. they put both sets of rats into a stressful situation: swimming in cold water. i don't know about you, but i believe swimming in cold water would be pretty stressful to almost anyone. anyway, the study found that the rats who run had new brain cells created by exercising (not a new discovery). these new brain cells, "the researchers concluded, appeared to have been 'specifically buffered from exposure to a stressful experience.' The rats had created, through running, a brain that seemed biochemically, molecularly, calm." the author noted that running is a form of aerobic (cardio) exercise, and, in theory, the conclusions should extend to cycling and swimming. also, for the exercise to start to work, it takes somewhere between 3 weeks and 6 weeks to for the difference to be noticable.
i am not a scientist or a medicinal doctor. i do, however, have a brain in my skull. this brain has been put through a lot of stressful situations. put simply, i have been both the rat that does not run and the rat that runs. and i can say with absolute certainty, that i have responded better to stressful situations after i started biking around the city. i notice i feel calmer, more ready to think rationally and in turn better cope with the stress.
for example. i am under personal stress in this picture (to clarify: the stress was not from hanging out w/ the people i was around). but...notice the smiles? i'm keeping the stress at bay, quite easily in fact.
Úna and cali kriss krossin' the bicis.this study doesn't exactly break too much new ground, but it did get me thinking about myself and then about you guys, our lovely readers.
so what about you? do you feel less anxious after you have ridden for a couple of months? would you recommend biking as a form of therapy or medication for a friend in need? please let us know in the comments.