Mountain biking has many great benefits, but many are not so obvious! We walk you through some of the interesting ways mountain biking can transform your life!
- What Are The Benefits of Mountain Biking?
- 1. Can Mountain Biking Reduce Stress?
- 2. Can Mountain Biking Improve Joint Health?
- 3. Can Mountain Biking Improve Balance and Coordination?
- 4. Can Mountain Biking Increase Brain Power and Improve Productivity?
- 5. Can Mountain Biking Improve Sleep?
- 6. Can Mountain Biking Improve Cardio Performance?
- 7. Is Mountain Biking a Good All Round Workout?
- 8. Can Mountain Biking Help Maintain Weight?
- 9. Can Mountain Biking Help You Enjoy The Great Outdoors?
- 10. Can Mountain Biking Help with Socializing?
- 11. Teaches You How To Overcome Fear
What Are The Benefits of Mountain Biking?
There are many benefits of mountain biking – both to your mental and physical health. As the sport has grown in popularity over the past couple of decades, more and more people have been discovering these benefits and realizing it’s more than a fun hobby. The benefits are carried on into life off the trails as well. In a world where people are living increasingly sedentary lives, sitting in front of screens, or living in urban environments with less opportunity to exercise, anyone who is looking to live a more active life should certainly consider mountain biking for the following reasons.
If you’re a mountain biker, or if you’ve ever considered taking up the sport, then have we got some good news for you! Here are eleven great benefits of mountain biking.
1. Can Mountain Biking Reduce Stress?
Endorphins are chemicals that the body produces that help to reduce stress and pain. They act in a similar way to opioids. During exercise, the body releases them to increase your energy levels and help you to feel good.
Another great advantage of exercising is that it releases serotonin in the brain, which is a hormone that helps to stabilize moods and increases feelings of happiness and well-being. More than just a mood enhancer, it also acts to improve communications between the nervous system and the cells in the brain. Its effects carry on to improvements in sleeping and digestion, further increasing health and feelings of well-being.
The simple act of doing something that you enjoy and that helps to give a sense of accomplishment can also help to improve mental health.
2. Can Mountain Biking Improve Joint Health?
Some sports are more demanding on the body than others. Mountain biking has some specific benefits over other sports that are harder on the body.
Mountain biking is considered to be a low-impact sport. This means that it doesn’t put as much stress on the joints as other forms of exercise such as running.
The lowered stress on the joints means that it is one of the best forms of exercise for people suffering from osteoarthritis.
It also places less stress on joints due to sitting down for at least part of the activity.
3. Can Mountain Biking Improve Balance and Coordination?
Balancing on two wheels can be tricky at the best of times – doing it while going down a steep, rocky section of a trail is another thing altogether. This can have a positive impact on balance, which can have further positive influences on your health. Simply riding any kind of bike will improve balance. However, mountain biking enhances this even further due to the fact that the terrain is so variable. Riders must constantly adjust to the dynamic, changing terrain.
Sustained practice at this helps to strengthen neural pathways and reinforces muscle memory.
This stimulates the brain further and promotes a healthy relationship between the resources of the brain, the nervous system, and the muscles.
As people get older, the improved balance will help to prevent falls which could lead to injuries – including broken bones and fractures.
4. Can Mountain Biking Increase Brain Power and Improve Productivity?
It might be tempting to think that when you are out on your bike, you have unplugged and aren’t thinking too much. But in fact, mountain biking can help improve your brainpower in a number of ways. Improved cardio-respiratory fitness can help to improve the performance of the brain.
Research from Illinois University has found that a 5% improvement in Cardio-respiratory fitness gained from regular cycling led to a 15% improvement on mental tests.
Regular exercise can help to build brain cells in the hippocampus, which is part of the brain that is responsible for building memory.
Exercise also helps to boost blood and oxygen to the brain, which helps to regenerate the receptors in the brain, which can help to ward off Alzheimer’s.
As exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, it can be a great way to come up with ideas and aid creativity.
5. Can Mountain Biking Improve Sleep?
After you’ve finished a day on the bike, you might want nothing else except your bed. But the tiredness that you feel can be good for you.
The tiredness that you feel after a good, long, hard bike ride will help you to sleep better and will also increase the quality of sleep – leading to better regenerative sleep.
Riding bikes also helps to decrease the levels of cortisol, which is a hormone that keeps people awake.
One problem that many people encounter in the modern world is that they spend so much time staring at screens or in unnatural lighting that their natural circadian rhythm is disrupted. This is what maintains a normal sleep/wake pattern. Being outside in nature helps to regulate this and keep it as it should.
6. Can Mountain Biking Improve Cardio Performance?
Any form of cycling is a fantastic cardio exercise. It strengthens the heart muscles, reduces fat blood levels, and lowers the resting pulse rate.
A study in Denmark that was conducted over 14 years and studied 30,000 people aged between 20 and 93 found that regular cycling helped to protect against heart disease. Cycling stimulates and improves the heart, lungs, and circulation, which all help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including; strokes, high blood pressure, and heart attacks.
The British Medical Association conducted a study of 10,000 people and found that riding a bike for 20 miles a week or more reduced the chance of coronary heart disease by nearly 50%. One particular benefit of mountain biking compared to other forms of cycling, it uses more of the large muscle groups as the heart is then forced to work at a steady rate its overall fitness increases by between 3% and 5%.
7. Is Mountain Biking a Good All Round Workout?
Cycling is, of course, a form of exercise, being a physical activity. But Mountain biking really is a great form of all-around exercise. All forms of cycling are good exercise for the leg muscles. However, mountain biking offers a full-body workout. The act of balancing on the bike and adjusting your balance to the different terrains that you encounter helps to build the abdominal core muscles. Maneuvering the bike, climbing, and turning all help to build the muscles of the upper body.
8. Can Mountain Biking Help Maintain Weight?
Regular exercise can help to overcome obesity and help with weight control. Mountain biking is ideal for this. Cycling raises the body’s metabolic rate, builds muscles, and burns body fat. Combined with healthy eating, it can be a great way to lose weight. Cycling can be adapted – in time and intensity – to suit your needs.
Cycling burns (on average) about 300 calories an hour. Research has shown that you should be burning about 2,000 calories a week from exercise.
Research has shown that riding a bike for a half-hour every day will burn nearly 5KG of fat over the course of a year.
9. Can Mountain Biking Help You Enjoy The Great Outdoors?
Mountain biking is all about getting out and enjoying nature. This has a number of health benefits. Being outside in nature, in the sun, helps to increase the body’s production of Vitamin D. This helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which in turn helps to keep teeth, muscles, and bones healthy. A good amount of Vitamin D can help to stave off conditions such as osteomalacia. Research has shown that being surrounded by nature can help to reduce stress and aids relaxation. Urban environments have the opposite effect and can help to increase anxiety. Exercising in nature – such as mountain biking – is the perfect way to unwind.
10. Can Mountain Biking Help with Socializing?
Being sociable with other people and sharing your passion and interests is good for overall mental health. Mountain biking can be a solo sport, but it is often enjoyed in a more social environment – whether with friends or as part of a club or society.
This helps to build social bonds, which helps to increase happiness.
11. Teaches You How To Overcome Fear
Learning to overcome and rationalize fear is important to help you progress in mountain biking. Learning this simple, but challenging skill is a great way to help you progress in life! Often we don’t do things in life because we are too scared, but mountain biking teaches you how to look at fear in a positive way, so you can weigh up the risks and often realize many fears are just in your mind.
Other posts you might be interested in:
- What Equipment is Needed for Mountain Biking?
- How Does Mountain Biking Keep You Fit?
- Mountain Bike Tyre Pressure Calculator
- Mountain Bike Frame Size Calculator, Charts, Fit & Frame Geometry
- Tout Terrain Singletrailer Review | Long-Term Review
Here is a good post from MBR on the benefits of mountain biking.