Mountain biking is unbelievably exciting and addictive too (not a bad thing considering the amount of benefits you’ll get from it). Mountain biking basically involves riding bikes off road, usually over rough terrain using specially-designed mountain bikes or hybrid bikes. Many people have unintentionally become more fit and healthier by engaging in mountain biking.
Now tell me, how many sporting activities can offer that much capacity as mountain biking? A means of recreation, lets you have fun while keeping you physically, mentally, socially, and even financially fit at the same time?
With mountain biking, every nerve-wrecking climb comes with the air of refreshing wild descents. Mountain biking also enables you to enjoy the beautiful view of nature around you as you engage in lung-bursting dashes along the trails. It also helps you relieve stress, maintain a healthy sleeping pattern and serve as a remedy for depression.
As you read on, you’ll discover the many advantages of mountain biking and its benefits (physical, mental, social and financial).
Advantages of Mountain Biking
1. Pleasant Sightseeing Experience
Mountain biking helps you spend a valuable amount of time in some beautiful places Mother Nature has blessed us with. Whether it’s the countryside, or through the amazing trails of Enchilada, Captain Ahab and Slickrock in Moab, Utah or the historical red rock sceneries of Hiline, Hangover and the Hogs of Sedona, Arizona, mountain biking gives you an unmatched sensory experience.
And who says you can’t go beyond the shores of the United States? If you’re daring you may check out the incredible Old Ghost Road in New Zealand or the Volcanic Slopes of Cotopaxi in Ecuador or the rocky trails of Achnashellach, Scotland. There’s no shortage of incredible trails all over the world and each one offers a unique sightseeing experience.
2. Helps Boost Confidence
Regardless of your experience level as a mountain biker, you feel on top of the world with every descent down the hill. With this euphoria comes a boost of confidence that spills into your other day-to-day activities in the real world. You’re able to handle seemingly tough tasks because of your strong mental fortitude built on the bike.
3. Build New Relationships
Mountain biking involves a community of like-minded individuals of different backgrounds. Spending the whole day on trails with these people is arguably one of the greatest benefits of mountain biking. Connecting with their ideas, helping each other and gathering together for one last hang after a really long day is what makes it really incredible.
Mountain biking is an avenue for meeting new friends in your local community. There are a number of Mountain Biking Local Groups on Facebook where you can meet people close to you and plan for your next big adventure.
Related post: Learn mountain biking lingo
Health Benefits of Mountain Biking
Mountain biking provides a rich variety of health and fitness gains to the human body. These gains include physical as well as mental health benefits.
Physical Benefits of Mountain Biking
1. Complete Body Workout
By pedaling and transferring energy to move the bike through the rough paths, the leg muscles do most of the work involved with mountain biking. However, not only do the leg muscles get worked out during the rigorous mountain biking experience, the arms and back muscles are also worked out as well.
Additionally, because mountain biking is a cardiovascular exercise, the internal organs (brain, heart, lungs, trachea, etc) benefit too. Regular mountain biking will increase your physical strength and stamina. In all honesty, not many exercise routines exist that can improve several aspects of the body like mountain biking.
2. Weight Loss
Effective weight loss programs are a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, mountain biking is a perfect solution. On average, you burn about 700 calories per hour and also build up muscles if you commit to riding regularly. And the sudden change of pace up and down the trails at regular intervals will speed up your weight loss program. Specifically, a 185-pound (84kg) person can burn as much as 336 calories in a 30-minute bike ride if they pedal at a 12-13.9 mph average pace according to the Harvard Health Letter.
Related post: Effects of cycling on body shape
3. Better Sleeping Pattern
Stress disrupts sleeping patterns and reduces quality of sleep. Mountain biking helps you clear your mind and improves the quality of your sleep. You don’t necessarily sleep because you’re tired from rigorous riding but because your stress levels have fallen and you will fall into a natural sleep that helps you handle every other activity with less stress.
Stanford University School of Medicine researchers assert that cycling for about 30 minutes daily helped people who were suffering from insomnia get to sleep twice as quickly when compared to when they didn’t cycle. Additionally, cycling boosted their amount of sleep by about an hour.
4. Improves Balance and Coordination
You’ll agree with me that riding bikes on the beautifully-tarred roads of your neighbourhood is quite different from mountain biking. The risk of falling and crashing is higher with mountain biking due to the natural terrain (such as steep slopes, sharp bends, uneven ground, unguarded trails, etc). The more you engage in mountain biking, the more your coordination and balance increases because you need to have your hands, feet and eyes working together in unison.
As you attempt more tricks and jumps, your skills are further improved as you need to look ahead before you attempt your moves. Any type of Bike riding needs some balance but mountain biking needs even more balance as you have to navigate uneven trails. The way you navigate through the risks of falling will help you be more coordinated and maintain balance in any other physical activity you participate in.
5. Low Impact
Mountain biking is not a contact sport. As such, there is usually a lower chance of injury and stress on your joints and ligaments. You can also control the intensity so you can start at an easy level, move to intermediate and so on, without risking much damage to your body.
6. Disease Prevention
Like most forms of exercise, regular mountain biking improves your body’s immunity and reduces your chances of illness. Regular cycling; including mountain biking, reduces the risk of heart disease, which is a leading cause of death in Australia and around the world. It also reduces your chances of diabetes and cancer, especially colon and breast cancer.
Related post: Find out if electric bikes can go up hills.
Mental Health Benefits of Mountain Biking
1. Gives a sense of Achievement
Mountain Biking is somewhat addictive and every hurdle you cross comes with a sense of achievement. That is really important for mental health, working towards something that has an end result. Being in the wild, untamed and momentarily away from the rigours of everyday life gives you a sense of purpose, happiness and many people find riding on trails very effective for their mental health. The challenges you have to overcome makes mountain biking an interesting option to take your mind off work (or anything that’s been troubling you).
In this clip, Global Cycling Network explains that on average, cyclists suffer 21% fewer poor days of mental health on an average month than people who don’t exercise. And that’s cyclists in general. How about the adventurous mountain bikers and how much the greenery and rough trains will improve their moods. It’s something positive to look forward to, of course.
2. Reduces Stress Level
One of the first things doctors recommend to help reduce a person’s stress level is exercise. What better exercise would you recommend to someone who needs to focus than mountain biking? Being outside for extended periods having to concentrate solely on the bike-riding exercise through the hills and mountains helps your mind relax.
You also find it easier to sleep and that makes it easier to handle additional stress. Mountain biking leads to the release of hormones that reduces stress, lower cortisol levels and increase mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain.
3. Helps Build Confidence
A new mountain biker may – at first – feel unsure about riding but as he/she goes further, he starts feeling healthier and becomes more skilled while increasing his self-confidence. The beautiful thing about self-confidence is that as it manifests in one part of your life, it spreads into other areas too.
As a mountain biker gets confident in his biking skills, he feels and looks better physically and this good feeling translates into a more confident feeling in other social settings…with more success.
Find out how long it takes to bike 10 miles. You’d be surprised!
4. Increases Your Brain Power
Mountain biking is always challenging; different slopes, terrain, elevations. You will be constantly judging, predicting, and directing throughout your ride. This complexity improves your problem-solving skills as well as your creativity to find different ways to tackle the trails with your bike.
5. Have Fun while Keeping Fit
Remember the last time you went to the gym? How did it go? Was it the same old gym instructor acting like Dwayne Johnson dishing out instructions? Or the sight of the new lady that came to the gym just to take pictures? Whatever answers you have, conventional exercise routines can be pretty boring. Sometimes, it makes people stop attending the training centres to seek something more fun (regardless of the numerous health benefits of exercising).
With mountain biking however, it’s totally different since everything about it is fun. You can change your environment whenever you feel like (unlike other forms of exercise). You also get to meet new riders through meetups which gives you an opportunity to explore new adventures.
Get the low-down on mountain biking in the rain
Social Benefits of Mountain Biking
1. Builds Community
Probably the most important benefits of mountain biking is the bonding together of people with diverse backgrounds, but with common biking interests to form a community. There’s always a Mountain Biking community near you if you search in the right places. If you’re a newbie or just moving into a new neighborhood, the community around is very helpful and willing to help you out on the trails. You may choose group rides, races for prizes and interact after the ride to discuss other things. You could even find your soulmate or your next business partner at one of these meetups.
2. Great for Family Bonding
Mountain biking is great fun and bonding time with your whole family. The more the merrier to be honest. Nature + Family + Love! It’s absolutely awesome. Plan any sort of family mountain biking trip. Try it out, you won’t regret it. It also doesn’t hurt to combine it with camping or fishing too!
3. Benefits the Environment
Want to save the planet? Ride a bike. It’s true in a simplistic kinda way, mountain biking reduces green-house gas pollution. It’s a great way to appreciate nature, and help make the planet more sustainable.
Related post: What muscles does mountain biking work?
Financial Benefits of Mountain Biking
1. Saves Money
If you pick up mountain biking, you’ll save money. This is after the initial expenses (mountain bike, gear and all). No need for any recurring monthly gym memberships. You just take your helmet, bike, gear and hit the trails. You save on gym memberships as well as transport costs to the gym and back.
Related post: How many calories do you burn mountain biking
Mountain Biking is a really amazing way to stay healthy and in touch with your immediate environment. When you’ve taken all necessary safety precautions, get on your bike with a couple of like-minded individuals and go the distance along the trails.
Mountain biking is a wonderful way to explore the world around you while keeping fit too. It also eliminates the feeling of boredom that comes with repetitive everyday exercise. The risk of falling and getting injured is slightly increased with mountain biking, so a small first aid kit will come in handy too.
The benefits of mountain biking is not limited to the physical aspects but also involves the mental aspect part which is a growing area of concern in our world today. Always appreciate the satisfaction that comes with meeting new people and hitting the rough paths of the trails, hills, and mountains.
Mountain biking provides all this fun as the cake, with the all round improvement in health and fitness as the icing on the cake. A nice cake, don’t you think?
Cheers! And thanks for reading! Worried about safety? Find out how dangerous mountain biking is. You’d be surprised.