The therapeutic value of ebiking for people with anxiety or depression

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
It is well known that getting out and about and being active is helpful to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Ebiking provides a wonderful sense of movement, momentum, and accomplishment. I wonder: What might the impact of having and using an ebike be for a person who has depression or an anxiety disorder?

As I find information or research articles on this topic, I will post them here, and I welcome forum members also to share information and personal stories.
 

rannyv

Active Member
Good point. And for someone with motivational issues which can sometimes go hand-in-hand with depression, the e-bike helps. I'm not particularly depressed, but I sure was happy to have that boost when I started doing the daily commute to work. No more dreading the ride home after a long, exhausting day. Thanks, e-bike!
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
My wife has had some rather severe bouts of anxiety disorder. Getting out on the trail with her ebike does her more good than the meds and therapy sessions combined have ever done. It has been raining the past week preventing us from getting out and her anxiety has worsened. Hopefully we will get a break in the next couple of days, but I do dread the long winter.
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
My wife has had some rather severe bouts of anxiety disorder. Getting out on the trail with her ebike does her more good than the meds and therapy sessions combined have ever done. It has been raining the past week preventing us from getting out and her anxiety has worsened. Hopefully we will get a break in the next couple of days, but I do dread the long winter.
I wonder how we can make biking in the rain more appealing. I think even though I won't commute in the rain, I will do some daylight recreational riding. Since the rain in my area comes with chill, as well, I was thinking of buying some construction-worker raingear--the heavy-duty plastic slicker and rain pants. I'm going to try out this gear and get some for my son, too, because he loves his ebike and would really benefit from riding year-round.

I don't have a depression or anxiety diagnosis, but I sure know that when I'm feeling down or worried, riding my ebike is wonderful therapy! (@DaveMatthews , methinks my ebike grin must be something like yours!)
 

DaveMatthews

Well-Known Member
I wonder how we can make biking in the rain more appealing. I think even though I won't commute in the rain, I will do some daylight recreational riding. Since the rain in my area comes with chill, as well, I was thinking of buying some construction-worker raingear--the heavy-duty plastic slicker and rain pants. I'm going to try out this gear and get some for my son, too, because he loves his ebike and would really benefit from riding year-round.

I don't have a depression or anxiety diagnosis, but I sure know that when I'm feeling down or worried, riding my ebike is wonderful therapy! (@DaveMatthews , methinks my ebike grin must be something like yours!)
Oh I think/bet there's lighter and more comfortable rainwear available.
I bet if I dug out some golf gear (jacket/pants), that and the right footwear might take care of relatively light rain conditions.
Golf gear would be so much more flexible.
Hmmm... or... ??? Or even motorcycle rain gear?
 

Telkwa

Member
Hopefully we will get a break in the next couple of days, but I do dread the long winter.
Where do you live? How much rain? We're in the PNW, where it can drizzle for days on end. If your wife is willing, there are solutions to most of the weather related discomfort.
I've found that you can bulk up all you want around your core, but if your extremities go cold it's all over.
My wife's fingers go white when she gets cold. I just broke the credit card buying a pair of OR Lucent heated gloves. They just arrived today so I don't have feedback. The standard measuring guide seems to use a tape measure wrapped around the hand at the palm, excluding the thumb. She measures almost 8". The M fits just about right.
We did get to try out our new Seirus Combo Scarf. Very comfortable neofleece face mask. If in doubt, get the Large. Bought them at REI.
I got my wife a pair of SealSkinz foot covers at Nashbar. Neoprene outer layer and cute little LED lights that slip into a pocket at the heel. Use the guide for sizing, then definitely buy the next size up.
Leg and arm warmers (Nashbar) provide customization.
No question it's not easy to go out when it's raining. But if she feels prepared it might make a difference.
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
Where do you live? How much rain? We're in the PNW, where it can drizzle for days on end. If your wife is willing, there are solutions to most of the weather related discomfort.
We are in Iowa, and we had about a week's worth of "flash flood warning" daily downpours. The rain has stopped for now, and we have had beautiful late summer/early fall weather this week. We have been out for several rides the past few days. We were turned back by closed trails a couple of times because of rising river levels and flooded creeks, but most of our local trails have now been reopened.

Thanks for the tips for riding in rain, but I think at our age and health situation, our best choice is to stick with riding on the nice weather days.
 

rannyv

Active Member
I'd say any kind of exercise one enjoys can help with depression / anxiety, etc.

As for riding in the rain, if you have the money, it's best to invest in some decent cycling rain gear. Even on an e-bike we perspire a bit and cycling specific gear is designed to breath. And it's visible at night. Don't forget a good pair of water proof shoes or shoe covers, full coverage fenders and a long mud flap on the front fender. And in the fall, watch the wet leaves. And it goes without saying, watch the ice and "frozen fog" we get in the Pacific NW. Oops, a little off topic.
 

Daffyh

Member
Diagnosed with ptsd and fnd and the ebike is one of the few activities i enjoy doing, alone or with the dogs and/or wife.
Chronic pain and fatigue from the hips down, sometimes have trouble walking and anything done on 2 feet am always dizzy and have balance issues. I can ride my ebike easier than i can walk most times i just pick the assistance level i need.
IBS is a constant problem so i can never be too far from the facilities, as is concentration and edurance amongst other things...
 

JayVee

Well-Known Member
It's good for mild CFS too. I've had that for about 25 years. It doesn't go away, but the e-bike alleviates the most undesirable effects. It was difficult at the beginning because the initial effort took a toll on me, but after a while it started to pay off. I have no regrets 17,000 kilometers later. I ride the bike 320 days a year, only avoiding the most extreme weather days. As long as I keep riding the bike, my fatigue levels remain normal most of the time. I don't have as much energy as a normal person, but I'm lucky enough that I can still function normally in society. A lot of people who have this syndrome need constant assistance for daily tasks. I'm still autonomous. The e-bike helps to maintain that and regulates my sleep, which is really important. No doubt about it, my health has dramatically improved. I'm even starting to enjoy riding in the rain, and I hate water... That says it all.
 

Credible Hulk

Active Member
Diagnosed with ptsd and fnd and the ebike is one of the few activities i enjoy doing, alone or with the dogs and/or wife.
Chronic pain and fatigue from the hips down, sometimes have trouble walking and anything done on 2 feet am always dizzy and have balance issues. I can ride my ebike easier than i can walk most times i just pick the assistance level i need.
IBS is a constant problem so i can never be too far from the facilities, as is concentration and edurance amongst other things...
You sound almost like me! In my case it's bipolar disorder. I find ebiking very enjoyable, even relaxing if it's in a park. In traffic - a bit hair-raising but I'm proud to say that with practice I've become used to the traffic. Concentration problems can come in handy when you have to be watching for traffic in all directions at once.

I saw your other post with your ebike and the dog trailer, what a great idea! I almost bought a front pet basket for my chihuahua, to put on my former ebike (sold because the frame was too big for me). I even bought her a pair of "doggles" but didn't end up using them. Now that I have a new ebike maybe I'll look for those baskets again.

Since you have pain and issues with walking and balancing, do you have trouble getting on and off of your ebike? I'm finding that's starting to be a problem for me as my joint stiffness gets worse. I recently bought a "step through" ebike but still, I can barely get my foot through it, and when I try to dismount my foot catches on the frame.
 

Daffyh

Member
Getting on and off is always a challenge, but i have not fallen over yet... i hate traffic but can put up with it in short bursts if i have to cross the road. I use bike paths as much as posssible, or the sidewalk (footpath). I take liquid magnesium daily which ameriolates the pain/heat somewhat, but i can still get a panic attack out of nowhere at times. I doubt i will ever motorcycle again, so I am getting as much out of the ebike as i can, at least it doesnt require fuel, rego and a lot of maintenance!!
 

LimboJim

Well-Known Member
eMTBs have saved my sanity (from Cyclothymia), restored my health (from weight gain and Chronic Lyme symptoms), and inspired my business endeavors (I'm self-employed).

I was also "born with the hearing of an 80 year old," and it's getting worse as I age (as everyone's does). Among other things, this has led to increasing social anxiety levels because hearing aids only help me in quiet environs, not at parties and such.

When I ride, though, that all just melts away!
 
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Credible Hulk

Active Member
Getting on and off is always a challenge, but i have not fallen over yet... i hate traffic but can put up with it in short bursts if i have to cross the road. I use bike paths as much as posssible, or the sidewalk (footpath). I take liquid magnesium daily which ameriolates the pain/heat somewhat, but i can still get a panic attack out of nowhere at times. I doubt i will ever motorcycle again, so I am getting as much out of the ebike as i can, at least it doesnt require fuel, rego and a lot of maintenance!!
I went out for the first time on my new ebike today, and the first thing I learned (by accident) is a trick that helps me get my leg over the step through frame. I just stepped a bit further away from the ebike and tilted it towards me, then I could get my foot over without catching it. I had my seat a bit too low because I was thinking I might have to swing my leg over the back of the bike. Once I was riding, this really bothered my right knee which has severe arthritis and doesn't bend more than 45 degrees. I didn't have this problem a couple of years ago when I had the other ebike. Luckily the seat was quick release and I could fix it right away.

In the past I had always ridden throttle ebikes, so I wasn't used to juggling pedelec settings and gears at the same time. I went to the nearest residential neighbourhood and rode round and round the streets, practicing stopping at stop signs etc. I was surprised and pleased at how much exercise I got, though I didn't increase the pedelec setting beyond 5 (it goes up to 9). I can see where my legs and knees might get tired and start to ache, so I'm glad I have a throttle just in case. It was only -2 C/high 20's F and I didn't expect to be able to stay out for too long, but the exercise warmed me up. It was a beautiful sunny day and the roads were dry. I was out for about an hour. They're forecasting a few sunny +2-3 C days next week so I'll have more time to practice.
 

Daffyh

Member
The dogs love their little trailer, as do so i can go a bit further where other dog walkers wont be. Back into the mid 30C this week so i wont be out much. ?
 

Credible Hulk

Active Member
The dogs love their little trailer, as do so i can go a bit further where other dog walkers wont be. Back into the mid 30C this week so i wont be out much. ?
Meanwhile up here in Canada, we had -30C windchills last week! Yesterday it was a balmy -2 and sunny, but today it's a howling gale and driving rain. The good news is this week the temps are finally going up a bit, 12 degrees on Thursday. That doesn't mean we won't get any more blizzards or deep freeze. We've had ice storms as late as May.

I'd love to have some kind of carrier or trailer for my dogs. My chihuahua is 12 years old and can't walk far, in fact I don't take her out at all when it's cold. She just stops, picks up her feet and whimpers (even with coat and boots on). My other dog is a pug/jack russel mix who could stand to lose some weight. Trouble is, she gets so excited when we go out that she quickly gets overheated. She flops down on her side and her ears turn bright red. It would be nice to take them to a quiet park somewhere. I have to avoid other dogs as well because both of my dogs go berserk when they see one, and stupid people ignore my requests to keep their dogs away.