Mountain biking offers a plethora of health benefits. The benefits of mountain biking include, but are not limited to, getting a full-body workout, reduced stress, improved mood, having the opportunity to be one with nature, and improved brainpower.
Is it really a surprise then that this recreational activity has seen a boost in the last couple of decades as issues resulting from our sedentary lifestyles have started to pop up all over the world?
Unlike other fitness exercises, mountain biking is not too strenuous; plus, it allows you to reconnect with yourself. You get to explore the beauty of nature on two wheels while keeping a check on your physical health.
It can’t possibly get any better than that!
Let’s explore the many benefits of mountain biking.
Reasons Why Mountain Biking Is a Good Exercise Option
Mountain biking is a great sport because besides being great exercise, there are so many benefits of mountain biking. Here’s a brief overview of some of its most well-known advantages.
It’s a Full-Body Exercise
You don’t necessarily have to visit the gym to get a good workout. In a gym, you typically follow specific workouts to target certain parts of your body, which can be time-consuming and exhausting.
Mountain biking, on the other hand, utilizes several muscles, giving you a full workout with each ride.
Once you become more consistent, you’ll notice that your thighs, calves, and leg muscles become more defined. Your upper-body muscles start getting stronger too thanks to the climbing and maneuvering aspects of mountain biking, and you will also strengthen your core.
Maintains a Healthy Heart
Regular exercise is known to improve your cardiovascular fitness. And mountain biking is a great cardio workout that can significantly lower blood pressure, thus keeping your heart healthy.
Mountain biking utilizes large muscle groups that increase your blood’s ability to transport oxygen and improve your blood vessels by dilating them and keeping them clear.
Studies have also shown that biking can decrease your chances of developing coronary heart disease by a whopping 50%. Going on a bike ride regularly might just prove to be the key to maintaining optimum heart health.
Helps Burn Fat
Going to the gym to lose weight is a mental battle in itself. Unlike the gym and other sports, however, with mountain biking, you don’t have to “trick” yourself into doing an exercise or following a specific diet.
You just have to get your bike from the garage, pick a trail, and go for a ride.
To make your workout efficient, set small, achievable goals and indulge in interval training. Sure, trying to speed up and down trails will make you sore at first, but think about all the calories you can burn!
Plus, trails also help you prevent taking the easy way out and plateauing, which can have an impact on your weight loss goals. It’s a win-win.
Keeps Your Lungs Healthy
A mountain biking cardio workout improves your breathing and increases your lung capacity. Studies report that bike riding can increase your lung capacity by 5-15%.
Once you become a regular biker, you’ll notice that mountain biking comes easily to you. You will no longer have to push yourself to climb up hills or be tempted to quit midway because you find it difficult to breathe.
Mountain bike riding is all about strength and endurance. Once you get started on a trail, nothing will stop you from achieving your goals.
Long bouts of endurance allow mountain bikers to explore tricky trails, knowing they won’t give up midway no matter how much they’re tempted to.
Improves Balance and Coordination
Mountain bike riding enables the rider to adjust to the varying elements of the trails. You have to maneuver and navigate through tricky terrain, pitches, and elevations, all while maintaining a steady pace to prevent accidents.
This helps improve balance, strengthens neural pathways, and improves coordination.
Offers Social Benefits
Here’s one you didn’t expect – mountain biking can be an excellent social activity that could allow you to build personal bonds and make new friends.
Living in a fast-paced world, we all struggle to find time to connect with friends and family members.
So when you want to exercise, instead of going to the gym and walking on a treadmill, why not go mountain biking with your friends and loved ones who enjoy biking? Better yet, form a club with other bikers.
You’ll find that mountain bikers, in addition to being great motivators, are always willing to make new friends. One of the best ways to enjoy mountain biking is to find a community of other riders who share your goals and attitude toward the activity and also challenge you to be better.
Mountain biking is a no-stress exercise. While it is a challenging sport that makes rigorous demands on you and pushes you to the edge, it is also a low-impact sport that can help you beat stress.
The focus, attention, and strength this physical exercise requires take your mind away from all the stressors in your mind. It stimulates your body into releasing endorphins, the feel-good chemical.
Gives You More Energy
After a ride, you’re bound to feel more energized and won’t need as much sleep as you used to when you were a couch potato. However, no matter how good the adrenaline rush gets, do not go on another mountain biking adventure immediately after the first one is over.
It’s important to give your body the time it needs to recover.
Mountain biking is a physical activity that boosts serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can help prevent depression and anxiety, and drastically improves your mood. It’s one of the reasons why exercise is one of the first recommendations by doctors when it comes to tackling depression and anxiety.
Safety is always our number one priority. Unfortunately, it’s something that cannot be guaranteed.
We’re all susceptible to accidents, irrespective of whether we’re walking on the sidewalk or driving a car. Luckily, the chances of accidents caused by mountain bike riding are significantly lower than by other means of transportation.
Mountain biking is also considered safe because riders usually wear protective gear that can significantly reduce the extent of physical injuries from an accident.
Enjoy Nature in All its Glory
For nature lovers, mountain biking is more than just exercise. It’s a magical experience that allows them to get in touch with nature through the landscape and the wildlife.
From encountering foxes and deers in their natural habitat to watching owls and birds, a trail can be a fun way to explore nature at its finest. Being in the natural environment can significantly benefit your mental health and general well-being.
Helps You Sleep Better
Post-ride exhaustion can be all the ammunition you need to have a restful night of sleep. The exercise from riding your mountain bike can decrease levels of cortisol, the hormone responsible for keeping us awake.
Mountain biking can also help your body get in touch with the sleep-wake cycle, thus helping to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. A great idea is to schedule your ride during daylight hours to avail the sleep-inducing benefits.
Improves Brain Power
Exercise can take your mind off things and focus all your attention on achieving a certain goal. This focus will help improve your cognitive skill level by sharpening your problem-solving skills.
This will manifest itself in both your private and work life and allow you to achieve all your goals.
Improves Mental Health
When your mental health is in shambles, feeling a rush of fresh air on your face can be refreshing. When you ride your bike on a trail, you’ll find that you don’t suffer half as much when you’re focused on an activity that demands your immediate attention.
Activities like mountain bike riding can help focus your attention on the exercise.
From climbing hills on your bike and then rushing downhill, to spotting a bird and reaching the end of your bike trail, you’ll learn to appreciate the smallest victories.
The benefits listed above are not the only benefits of mountain biking, it also
- places less stress on the joints;
- improves reflexes;
- triggers a can-do attitude;
- helps you get the golden vitamin D;
- is therapeutic; and
- gives you a legal high.
The 40 million people from the United States who engage in this fun activity every year would agree that mountain biking offers more than just physical benefits.
Mountain biking is a great form of exercise, one that actually allows people to have fun. How many grueling cardio-centered activities can attest to offering this benefit?
Of course, the best benefits of mountain biking, just like with every other sports activity, can only be achieved through consistency. So get your mountain bikes ready, gather all your mountain biker friends, pick a trail, and go explore the wilderness on two wheels.