Promoting the well-being benefits of cycling.

Kirsty from HSBC Breeze in Yorkshire

I’ve lived with mental health most of my adult life.


Anxiety, depression and an eating disorder that I struggled to control. I’d seen theorists and taking antidepressants over the years but I could never really find a balance.


Things really came to a head 3 years ago - after struggling with secondary fertility following the birth of my little boy, two years of failed fertility treatments and a late miscarriage I was depressed and struggling to cope with day to day life. I sat on the beach in Greece on the eve of my 40th birthday and seriously considered walking in to the sea and swimming into the darkness.


I knew then that I need to do something, something had to change, I owed it to my husband and son to find happiness or at least a balance.  


When we got home I started running then I took up cycling, I spent the next year taking part in all kinds of sports challenges from my first parkrun to rowing across Lake Windemere, an abseil, a triathlon, Great North Swim and finally Cycling from London to Paris. There was a point on the third day of the cycle, I was tired and hurting and frankly fed up of cycling. I started crying around mile one and didn’t stop until our first break at mile 20.  


It was such a release.  


By the time I started cycling again I felt, honestly, like a weight had been lifted. The fog had cleared and for the first time in as long as I can remember I felt happy. That ride quite literally changed my life. It’s not all smooth sailing now but cycling and running keep me feeling calm, and balanced and more in control. I run or cycle most days.  


There’s nothing quite like pushing yourself to the limit on a climb or the thrill of the downhill to clear your mind. I could honestly talk for hours about the benefits of exercise and mental health.  


I know first hand the difference it makes.