Jumping behind the wheel and pressing play on your favourite album can have a refreshing and therapeutic effect on your well-being, offering a wide range of mental and physical benefits.
For example, sitting in the driving seat can grow your brain and develop neuroplasticity, helping you improve your memory and your ability to interpret and retain visual information.
Sam Sheehan, motoring editor at cinch, the faff-free way to buy a car online, said: “Enjoying leisurely drives at the weekend can work wonders for your mental health, putting you in a better position to take on the upcoming week feeling happy and regenerated.
“From making special memories and instilling a sense of freedom to setting aside precious me-time to cleanse your mind from the stress and grind of everyday life, cruising at your own pace is a healthy activity to add to your weekly routine.
“Ultimately, whether it’s taking a solo trip or going for a ride with your partner and kids, hitting the road in your used VW or Ford can definitely boost your well-being.”
With the help of a mental health expert, cinch has revealed some surprising health advantages of leisurely driving.
Allows for thinking space
One in 14 adults in the UK admits that they feel stressed every single day, with work being one of the principal causes.
With plenty of chores and tasks on both your personal and professional to-do lists, it’s vital to find time every so often to free your headspace and reset.
Some people may find that cooking, cleaning, or exercising helps them gather their thoughts after a busy week, but others choose to take a casual drive.
Mental health expert Jeremy Schneider explained: “It’s always important to find some me-time without the wants and needs of others.
“Taking a leisurely drive, for example, can make you feel good in many ways and provide much-needed thinking space.
“While it’s crucial to be alert on the road at all times, driving is something we can do without thinking too much, especially on a linear route we’ve covered before.
“The brain goes into a particular state of mind where you’re completely relaxed but becomes immediately aware if a situation needs your attention.
“For this reason, being in the driving seat allows you to safely reflect on what’s been on your mind without distractions or interruptions, helping you find a fresh and positive perspective on things.”
It helps make memories and tackle loneliness
The pleasure of driving isn’t always about the act itself. What also makes jumping behind the wheel such a mood-boosting experience is the memories you form as you cruise past new scenery and explore new locations.
Driving can also work as an excellent antidote to loneliness, especially if you live in a remote area with limited public transport.
Hitting the road in your vehicle can pave the way to social interaction, as it allows you to get out and about whenever you wish and see your family and friends.
Remember that humans are a social species, so keeping in touch with loved ones can significantly improve your morale and well-being.
Not only that, but socialising can also boost your immune system and help with the correct functioning of the brain.
Offers a sense of security and independence
One of the other benefits of driving is that it gives you an invaluable feeling of freedom, which can fuel your spirits and happiness levels.
Schneider added: “The beauty of going for a leisurely ride in your car is that it can spur an innate sentiment of security and independence.
“When you’re at the wheel, you make your decisions. Simply choosing whether to cruise through bustling city roads or divert to quieter country lanes can improve your mood.
“People who deliberately decide what to do with their time are more likely to feel in control and be more satisfied with their lives. So, fitting casual drives into your schedule can make your week a little brighter.”
Feeling in control of a situation and equipped to face challenges can also spark a sense of self-belief and self-worth.
After all, whether it’s taking your kids to school or collecting the shopping for your elderly neighbour, driving offers you the chance to help people dependent on your support. As well as making life easier for others, helping those who need a hand is an effective remedy against stress and anxiety.
If you’re feeling a bit blue, getting behind the wheel is an easy and therapeutic way to get your good spirits back in no time.