As seen in the last few decades, a lot of people consider mountain biking as one of their favourite recreational outdoor activity. As a matter of fact, according to a study conducted by the Outdoor Industry Foundation, almost 40 million people engage in this activity every year in the US alone.
This comes with value, considering that health concerns facing the public these days, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity, are consistently on the rise. Mountain biking is an exciting and fun way to deal with these concerns and take advantage of the benefits of this fitness activity.
Aside from these obvious benefits of mountain biking, there are several others too that you may not be fully aware of. Let’s take a look at these 5 benefits of mountain biking and see whether this activity is perfect for you too!
1. IT REDUCES STRESS
Have you experienced that feeling wherein you’re almost about to give up? You seem choked with all of the things you need to complete on your to-do list. Going home does not solve the problem, because you almost always have to bring your work home. Weekends are no longer as satisfying as they were, and you just want to relieve yourself from all of this.
Giving yourself a much-needed relaxation is the answer to this problem. Relaxation can be achieved through different means. One of them is by mountain biking. Have you tried this activity before? You might be amazed at how capable it is when it comes to reducing stress.
Never underestimate the power that nature can give you, especially when it comes to changing your mood, as well as your overall health. Just image the lush scenery, the greeneries, the breath of fresh air as you pedal your way out into serenity.
Why is this important? Well, the environment that surrounds us plays a huge role on our perception of the world, and our feeling on a given day. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, hurried and stressed as we live our lives amidst the concrete jungle we are living in. However, the moment you start your trail, your body also indulges in the satisfaction and relaxation while observing the beauty of the surrounding nature.
Stress impacts our health, that’s a given. Once our stress levels go down after a mountain biking adventure, you would be delighted to experience noticeable benefits such as having a reduced blood pressure level.
2. BRINGS HAPPINESS INTO YOUR LIFE
Do what makes you happy. We always hear this advice. However, how do we know what to do if we have not yet tried it? Well, you might have to rely on what others have to say. For this, a lot of people have recommended mountain biking as an activity that brings them happiness. How so? We all know that any form of exercise releases chemicals in the brain known as endorphins.
Endorphins result in us feeling happy. At the same time, physical activity also works in decreasing the chemicals which can make depression worse. This is basically the reason why you feel happier the moment you start biking.
Although exercising on spinning bikes is great, mountain biking offers that temporary escape from reality. In general, exercise helps in decreasing anxiety. Thus, it improves your overall mood. A mountain biking adventure serves as a distraction to your current every day stress, helping you to wash your worries away. This escape from reality easily breaks that cycle of negative thoughts.
As a matter of fact, mountain bikers have mastered the art of mindfulness while biking. When you are hopping over those logs, and riding through tight corners and tree-filled forests, it’s quite difficult to think of other things. As a bonus, you feel even happier when you are biking together with your friends.
3. IT BOOSTS YOUR SELF-CONFIDENCE
Whether you have just successfully jumped over your first log, cleared a rocky garden, or mastered that challenging descent, meeting challenges along the way will certainly give you that extra ounce of self-confidence. This may not be an actual real-life scenario that you meet in the city while at work, but this boost can do wonders.
This is because you successfully completed the challenges with you, alone, knowing about it, or in the presence of a group of friends. It does not have to be something big, like when you achieve something at work, and you are being applauded by your peers. This kind of self-achievement is one that boosts you from within.
Also, mountain biking helps you become more physically fit, while improving your stamina at the same time. All of these will help you feel good about your physical appearance as much as it makes you feel good inside. This self-confidence can also be sustained if you meet new friends along the way, especially those who share the same passion with you.
4. IT IMPROVES CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Mountain biking is an activity that will certainly have your heart pumping the way it should be. Your body’s cardiovascular system will be challenged by the steep climbs. Through time, your heart will eventually become stronger. As you continue your climbs, the recovery time will gradually decrease, and later on, you will find it a lot easier to finish longer, and even more challenging trails.
A study performed by the British Medical Association revealed that riding a bicycle for about 20 miles every week reduces the risk of having coronary disease by about 50%. This is because mountain biking utilizes huge muscle groups which need a lot of oxygen. This will allow your hear to pump steadily, thus improving the fitness of your heart up to 7%.
It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have a minimum of two and a half hours of physical activity (moderate to intense) every week. This activity should be rigorous enough for you to sweat a lot and increase your heart rate. Mountain biking is a good activity that meets this requirement.
Aside from your heart, your cardiovascular system is also composed of your lungs. The more you perform intense activities such as mountain biking, the more efficiently your lungs will work. This translates to a better blood flow within your body, as well as an overall increase in oxygenation.
Of course, the expected level of fitness depends on how you do the process well. By working on increasing your training gradually through time, you can experience an associated improvement in the overall performance of your cardiovascular health, and thus, enjoying a better level of fitness at the same time.
5. LESS STRESS ON YOUR JOINTS
If you are trying to avoid any intense activities because of bad knees, mountain biking is a good option for you. It offers amazing exercise, while making sure that minimum impact is experienced by your joints. This is different from running which has the tendency to result to other knee and hip problems after hitting some pavements. Mountain biking, on the other hand, is easier on your joints.
Because of this nature, mountain biking proves to be an amazing alternative for older individuals who may be suffering from injuries in the knees after several years of intense sports, running included. As a good alternative option, this activity also offers relatively similar benefits to the cardiovascular health as that with running, minus the impact on the joints. Former president George W. Bush turned to mountain biking after experiencing a knee injury caused by running.
Overall, mountain biking is a low-impact activity, which means that it puts less stress on the joints compared to other activities. It is also referred to as a non-load bearing sport, taking pressure off the joints while reducing the potential risks of injury caused by the activity. In fact, it even helps in toning your calf, quad and glut muscles, while strengthening your tendons at the same time. This is an option that is way better than using a stationary bike in a gym.
At times, the above mentioned benefits are taken for granted, especially when we do not feel that we need them. However, it would be a huge loss if we don’t experience all the benefits offered by mountain biking, not just towards our health, but to our entire wellbeing as well.
Therefore, rather than making a decision just to stay home for the weekend and watch a football game and drink beer, why not grab your mountain bike (or borrow one), and ride for an unforgettable experience? There is no other way for you to escape your worries than being out there, face to face with nature, while pedalling those legs!
Billy Smith is a writer, fitness junkie, trekker, hiker, tech geek and adventurer extraordinaire. Having worked in the IT field for over 10 years, Billy now spends a lot of his time writing to inspire people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to use technology responsibly. As the founder of Checkcorner.com, it is Billy’s endeavor to provide people with the best information and tools to transform their lives.