It seems almost inevitable that at some point or another everyone will experience some form of mental fatigue.
In today’s world, full of so many modern amenities, it’s often difficult to find a moment when you can truly be focused on something, without a dozen distractions.
This is where exercise comes in.
What is mental fatigue?
Mental fatigue or exhaustion occurs when you’ve been working a lot or spending large amounts of time infront of a computer screen.
You’ve been devoting a lot of mental energy to tasks or focusing a lot on solving sources of stress.
There are many signs that you’re mentally exhausted:
- You can’t get any work done
- You’re angry or irritable
- You zone out
- You can’t sleep well
- You do unhealthy things
- You’re depressed
- You worry a lot
- Exercise feels harder
- Your eating habits change
- You make more mistakes
- You feel more pain
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help ease your fatigue and get you back on track.
One method is through exercise.
How does indoor cycling help with mental fatigue?
When we reach the point of feeling mental fatigue we often do the exact opposite of what will help us overcome it.
It seems to be the case for the majority of the population that when we feel low, burnt-out or depressed we just want to sit and do nothing.
Psychologists state that this is where the problem lies.
"Many people skip the workout at the very time it has the greatest payoff. That prevents you from noticing just how much better you feel when you exercise."
"Failing to exercise when you feel bad is like explicitly not taking an aspirin when your head hurts. That's the time you get the payoff."
The mood-boosting effect of aerobic exercises, like indoor cycling, can be felt almost immediately.
In fact, according the the American Psychological Association, it’s been proven in many studies that exercise can help us breakthrough that mental fatigue and feel replenished.
It’s even been shown that exercise, for at least 30-minutes daily, can help alleviate anxiety and even prepare the brain to react better to stressful situations.
The useful part of this study is that just 30-minutes 3 times weekly can show benefits. The 30-minutes doesn’t even have to be continuous – 3, 10-minute walks show the same effects.
Psychology Today states that riding an indoor cycle can increase the white matter in your brain - the white matter is what connects different areas of the brain. A breakdown in this can lead to cognitive decline.
Performing a repetitive motor skill, like pedalling a bike, can help increase the integrity of the white matter tracts in your brain.
When your body is active your brain is active.
Physical activity gives your brain the hit of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine to make you feel better (and happier!). It also increases glutamate and BDNF.
- Endorphins improve your mood.
- Serotonin sends messages to your brain about your body’s appetite, mood, and sleep.
- Dopamine gives your brain a sense of reward.
- Glutamate regulates your ability to think clearly and controls the nerve cells that determine your heart rate.
- BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) creates and protects the neurons that help with memory, emotion regulation, and learning.
Through maintaining a regular exercise habit and finding the motivation to move your body, especially when you don’t want to, your chances of suffering a prolonged mental fatigue can be minimized.