You know that post-workout feeling where you just feel good?
No, not the one where you think “thank goodness that is over” haha. The other good feeling – that’s the one that’s important.
Currently 1 in 5 Australians suffer from a mental illness every year. With the two most common types being depression and anxiety. Still an uncomfortable topic in many social groups today, mental illnesses are unfortunately on the rise.
Awareness, education and destigmatising mental illness is important if we are to see a change in those statistics.
Recently there has also been a tremendous amount of research directed towards understanding the effect of cardiovascular activity on mental wellbeing.
To help further unpack this notion, we spoke with David Finnimore who is the founder of Sydney’s first rhythm riding studio, Cycology Club.
Based in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, you’ll find anything but your typical spin session at Cycology Club. Building the foundations of their studio around enhancing your mental wellbeing, everything you’ll do there is rhythm based… “We incorporate principles of HIIT, dance and weight lifting into our classes. What this ensures is that no two classes are the same with different playlists and movements for every single one” David explains.
Emulating the feeling of a nightclub, Cycology Club helps clients reach the natural high that only exercise can give. Also located within the studio is their ‘M3’ room designated for the three M’s; meditation, mindfulness and mobility. Monthly mindfulness workshops are offered in addition to classes, to help promote mental wellbeing among their clientele.
Due to the overwhelming number of people with a mental illness in modern times, we asked David why he feels there is still a stigma associated with these issues today?
“We aren’t having the right conversations around mental health or discussing it in the right ways. We don’t talk about mental health in the same way we talk about physical health.”
If mental health was spoken about in the same light that fitness is discussed in, David believes the stigma would be reduced dramatically.
“I think we need to start by clearly distinguishing the difference between Mental Health and Mental Illness as too often when we talk about mental health we jump to mental illness, or conditions like anxiety, depression and stress disorders. The two are very different and I believe there are misconceptions around the terms.”
The link between cardiovascular activity and mental health is becoming increasingly prominent. David first connected the dots between the two through his own experiences…
“I found that I was of peak mental performance when incorporating regular intensive cardiovascular activity into my day. I also found it beneficial to help manage my anxiety.”
The ever-growing body of work that supports the link between cardiovascular activity and mental health all point to similar conclusions that it reduces anxiety and depression, promotes resilience to stress, increases energy, enhances brain function, and lowers insomnia.
The turning point for David that drove him to open Cycology Club came after he lost everything in a house fire that he barely managed to escape.
“To help cope and manage the anxiety and depression that followed, I spent time in London, New York, Hong Kong and LA practicing Rhythm Riding and always felt a sense of love and community.
Soon after, I decided it was time to head home, bring my experience and follow my passion… and Cycology Club was born.”
If you’re wondering how Cycology Club works on training the mind, and not just the physical body, we asked David to give us some insight.
“There is a certain physical discipline to what we do. Hand-eye coordination plays a role, but it’s much more than that! It is really about what the physical activity does to your mind. The endorphins production of serotonin, and the space we create, all allows you to focus the mind and take that energy with you into your day or week.”
The importance of community is everything at Cycology Club. “It’s in the name” David says…“We aren’t a ‘studio’ or a ‘gym’ – we are a CLUB and a group of like-minded people. The relationships, friendships and moments shared off the bike are equally, if not more important, than the class experience itself.”
Whether or not you are a Sydney-sider that can go enjoy a session at Cycology Club, the implementation of cardiovascular activity for your own personal health is something that has perhaps never been more important than today.
Better yet, even if you’re someone who doesn’t love high intensity workouts like the ones you’ll find at Cycology Club, alternative options suggested by David include simply going for a nice stroll…
“A long sustained walk does wonders for the mind and body and is still relatively low impact. Walking with a friend or in a small group is incredibly beneficial for the social elements, but also helps keep you accountable.”
On the other hand, for any of you that are fortunate enough to live close-by to Cycology Club, and are curious about how often you should take a class, and how long long before you’ll experience some of the benefits, David recommends going in about three times a week.
“Most of our clients will ride along with some other type of training be it pilates, yoga or lifting. You will experience the mental benefits immediately and physically you will notice changes to your body within weeks.”
So if you’re ready to #RIDETHEHIGH and learn more or book a session with Cycology Club, check out their website here.