For most people, 2020 has been a rough year. For some, it has been a year of reflection. In response to mandatory work and school closings, students and workers have reconsidered which activities result in the most happiness and satisfaction and which only cause stress and frustration. Many have turned to bike for the first time in their lives, and have found a kind of freedom they could previously only imagine. Whether you are still considering shopping for cruiser bikes for women, or you have just bought a men’s road bike for your commute, here are a few ways that biking can make you happier and healthier in the new year.

Biking as a Group Is Safe and Healthy

In a post-pandemic world, it can be difficult to find activities that can be done with others without violating social distancing requirements. Because many cities have designated biking paths with plenty of space for you and your friends, biking is a great way to hold together friendships that have been strained by distance and isolation. Simply choose a bike path that allows you enough distance from others that you don’t have to worry whether your mask is working.

Exercise Improves Your Body’s Immunity

Long-term studies on the human immune system have consistently found that the best way to ensure your body is ready to fight disease is to stay healthy through exercise, sleep, and proper nutrition. When you boost your body’s immunity, you are not only reducing your risk of infection but improving your ability to combat viruses and bacteria once you are already sick. While the best type of bike for exercise is up for debate, biking is a strong candidate for the best exercise for your mental and physical health.

Long-Distance Biking Promotes Endorphins and Other Beneficial Neurotransmitters

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, mental health professionals have reported a significant increase in the incidence of both depression and anxiety. Although the fact that peoples’ social lives have been severely impacted by the virus is probably partially responsible for this trend, physical exercise is still a viable way for those affected by the pandemic to improve their mental health. Like another cardiovascular exercise, biking is great for the brain. Not only does it increase blood flow, but it balances endorphins and other neurotransmitters essential to your sense of wellbeing.

Biking Lets You Get Outside More

While the benefits of outdoor exercise are obvious to anyone who has ridden through any of America’s many scenic parks, getting outside is about more than just exercise. Simply being in nature can do wonders for the spirit. Although many people instinctively retreat indoors at the arrival of winter, getting out is especially important during the darkest days of the year. Just gather your cold-weather gear, take your fat tire bike, and go for a ride in the winter weather.

Rather than hoping passively that 2021 turns out to be a better year, take your health and happiness into your own hands. Start a bike commute or weekly ride and witness for yourself how quickly things can start to seem okay again.