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Cycling grows muscles and brain, sharpens thinking, study says


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HIGHLAND — If you're spinning your wheels trying to come up with a healthy exercise routine, you might want to try joining a cycling group. Adding a little pedal power into your routine can be good for the body — and the brain.

"You know they talk about a runner's high, it's a biker's high,” said Katie Harward.

"One aspect that we love about it that we try to promote is that we're better together,” said Melissa Brooks.

That's why this group of Highland friends and neighbors formed the veloLOVE Cycling Team, riding 20 to 80 miles two to three times a week.

"If you're just starting out it doesn't have to be crazy intense. You can kind of build up to it," Best said.

And research supports their thinking. A study out of Finland says just 30 minutes of cycling can grow your muscles and your brain, as well as sharpen your thinking.

"There are people that really feel that bilateral stimulation — left-right, left-right, left-right — is very good for helping us process things psychologically,” said Jason Conover with Utah Valley Psychiatry and Counseling.

Paige Beal actually took up cycling to help with her Seasonal Affective Disorder. "I tell people, ‘No, it's all mental for me.’ getting the sunshine, the exercise it makes a huge difference in my mood," she said.

"Oh my gosh, it's like a lifesaver,” Harward said. “We talk about it being our therapy our girl time, our social time, just getting out."

You know they talk about a runner's high, it's a biker's high.

–Katie Harward, veloLOVE Cycling Team

"I always tell my husband I’m in better shape because I can ride and talk and most people can just ride,” Beal said laughing.

It's also good on the joints. "(When) I get home, I'm not in pain like I was when I did something else, so it's not as strenuous," Harward said. "You still get the cardiovascular aspect that other aerobic activities give you."

This cycling group takes all levels of cyclists. Some are training for the LoToJa Classic, a long-distance one-day amateur bicycle road race from Logan to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Others are just getting started. To find out about group rides, check out the veloLOVE Cycling Team Facebook page.


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Erin Goff


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