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Personal Story: How mountain biking helps my mental health

 

For as long as I can remember, I have always done some sort of sport or physical exercise. I always took this for granted until a considerable injury put me out of action.

 

Exercise for me

 

My sport is Mountain Biking, I have done it for several years now and am well and truly obsessed. For me it is the feeling of speeding down a trail and experiencing what I call flow. It is a blissful state where I am always on the edge of control and disaster, but where surprisingly, I feel very calm, Being able to control the bike so gracefully, for me, is amazing.

 

Find your passion and pursue it!

 

Everyone has something they are good at and particularly enjoy, something that they do in order to vent, or forget about any worries they may have. For some, it may be football, while for others it may be gymnastics. The spectrum is vast.

 

Lack of exercise and how it affected me

 

Last year was particularly tough for me. I sustained an injury that inhibited me from riding my bike and in general, everyday tasks became exponentially more difficult.

 

Luckily this injury was not life-changing and I was able to make a full recovery, but it took note of how it had affected me.

 

In general I was getting less exercise than before and it had a bad effect on my mood and productivity. I felt increasingly more agitated with friends and family and I was tired a lot of the time.

 

Using exercise to manage stress

 

Shortly after I got back on the bike my Junior Cert came around, but I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn't let mountain biking take a back seat, however selfish that may seem. Every Wednesday after school I would go out with my friends to ride our bikes in the woods. This made a world of difference for me as I found I was able to approach study after with a fresh head.

 

I ended up doing really well in my J.C. and credit much of this to my upkeep of exercise, you tend to focus on only the exercise and large problems or subjects of worry become much more manageable.

 

What helps for me

 

  • Whatever you are going through, find something that you love doing and pursue it, don't let it take the back seat
  • Physical exercise and wellbeing is proven to positively affect mental health. I try to do as much as possible.
  • If something is stressing me out, I leave it and do something else, so that I can approach it with a new perspective later.

 

Conclusion

 

Give yourself a break every once in a while! You deserve it, and if something is really stressing you out, talk to someone about it, don't get bogged down and worried about it.