Riding a bicycle can engage the brain

Kellie McCown

Students always have their heads in a book, their eyes fixed on a computer screen and are always finishing and starting homework assignments.

The burnout possibilities of always having your head in academics are high.

It’s no secret that riding a bike is a great workout but it also is extremely helpful in reducing stress while keeping your mind sharp, and avoiding that mid-semester burnout. A good way to utilize your bicycle to help reduce stress and increase cognitive thinking is to live by this motto:

Ride, work, ride, repeat.

A recent study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research showed that those who cycle for at least 30 minutes scored higher on memory and reasoning tests than those who had no physical activity at all.

This is because when you push those pedals, the capillary bed in your brain becomes richer, allowing more blood cells to travel to the brain, and increasing oxygen and nutrition flow, which in turn allows the mind to work faster and more clearly, according to Canadian neuroscientist Brian Christie, who recently wrote about the positive effects of cycling on the mind in Bicycle magazine.

Who doesn’t want to think more clearly?

So here are three ways to fight off fatigue and fit a ride into your busy school and work schedule.

Commute- When you’re riding as a form of transportation, it’s almost like a non-workout, workout.

Riding to and from school or work gets the body moving and starts the day off with exercise while also getting you to your destination.

Even though you might not be thinking about increasing blood flow, the constant motion does just that, preparing your mind and body for the day ahead of you.

Take a ride between classes – Sacramento is a cycling paradise, and that is not lost at Sac State. With the Guy West Bridge connecting campus to the American River Parkway, it is easy to take a quick twenty-minute ride when you have hit writer’s block trying to bust out that essay, or you have been trying to solve that math problem. Chances are you will return with a much sharper mind.

When in doubt, hit The WELL. Sac State has one of the most technologically advanced health facilities among all the CSU campuses. If you can’t ride to school and can’t pack up a bike, spinning is an effective alternative.

The WELL has stationary bikes that look and feel like riding an actual bike. Spin classes are also available.

The next time you notice your mind might be a little foggy, or you just can’t get out of a homework funk, hop on a bike and crank out a few miles. Your mind, and your homework, will thank you later.