When it comes to fun and leisure, nothing is more electrifying and exciting than romping the mountains on a good trail bike. It is arguably the best representation of regular fitness and cardiovascular exercise together in one single sport.
Over the years, this type of biking has become increasingly popular as one of the most preferred outdoor recreational activity, not just because it gives riders the opportunity to explore nature, but because of the numerous health gains, it provides.
Currently, in the US alone, close to 40 million people actively engage in mountain biking every year.
While many people may still be discouraged by the intensity of the sport, there’s a whole lot to be gained in terms of one’s overall wellbeing, then any minor bruise that might be sustained or the bumps that are frequently encountered.
7 Most Common Benefits of Mountain Biking
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned athlete or beginner with zero experience, taking part in mountain biking can positively affect your health in so many areas.
Here are the most common benefits:
1. Full Body Workout
If you’ve ever come across a few seasoned cyclists, then you would have probably noticed how defined their calf muscles are. However, you may not be aware that every muscle in their body is engaged whenever they tackle a trail.
Whether you decide to romp the hills or your street roads, cycling is one exercise that can affect almost all parts of your body including your calves, thighs, legs as well as the upper body.
For instance, taking a turn helps to give strength to your upper body while staying upright works on your core and abdominal muscles. Your butt also gets tighter with time.
Overall, mountain biking helps you to get a total body workout without paying for an expensive gym class. Herein, to ensure you have the best experience, you may bank on some mountain bikes under 300. Because this price range – often, if not always – brings the best value.
2. Improved Performance of Your Cardiovascular System
Your cardiovascular system mainly consists of your lungs, veins, and heart, and one of the ways to improve its function is through regular exercise.
With improved performance of your cardiovascular system, oxygenation will increase, and there would be better blood flow.
To a large extent, this process determines how is the level of fitness of your body.
The reason why mountain biking is so effective for improving your heart health is that it’s an aerobic exercise. This is because as you ride on a bike, your heart rate will increase steadily, improving the way blood is pumped to various parts of your body.
So apart from your muscles, mountain biking also works on your lungs and heart. Thus when you consistently engage in off-road riding (at least 20 miles a week), your cardiovascular system, as well as your fitness level, is greatly improved.
The chance of contacting a coronary heart disease is also greatly reduced. (See also: Cardiovascular Fitness: Treadmill Results Are Accurate?)
3. Better Sleep at Night
One of the greatest benefits of mountain biking is that it leads to better sleep.
Like with many intense exercises, it’s very common to feel extremely tired and worn out after taking your bike out for a ride. However, even though the tiredness might be uncalled for, it will consequently lead to improved sleep during the night hours.
This is because riding for leisure or as a form of exercise in broad daylight helps to diminish the amount of cortisol produced in your body, raise vitamin D production and maintain your natural circadian sleep/wake cycle.
Know that cortisol is the hormone responsible for keeping you awake.
So if you’re the type that normally finds it difficult to sleep at night, off-road biking can be a potential remedy.
4. Better Coordination and Balance
Another notable benefit of biking is that it can lead to improved coordination and balance.
Plodding on an expensive piece of machinery, such as a treadmill, will address only a few areas of your fitness. However, due to its dynamic nature, mountain biking engages various muscle groups in your body as you vary elevation, pitch, and terrain.
As you try to secure yourself on the bike and remain steady, your neural pathways and muscle memory are strengthened in the process.
Balance and coordination basically entail the combined action of various systems in your body. Mountain biking can help to promote the proper functioning of these systems.
5. Improved Strength and Endurance
While many riders naturally want to avoid the bumpy trails, as well as the numerous twists and turns, it is this experience that makes mountain biking really rewarding. To navigate through the obstacles and maintain control, you have to do a lot of hard work with your legs.
It is in the course of this hard work that the strength of your leg muscles is enhanced. This includes your thigh muscles, buttocks, and calves.
In the same way, your endurance is greatly improved as a result of better cardiovascular health. We’ve already talked about the importance of your cardiovascular and how it relates to your overall fitness level.
6. Easy on Your Joints
While many aerobic exercises offer numerous benefits, some of them can be injurious to your joints. Thankfully mountain biking is not one of them. The sport is completely safe, and we recommend it to everyone, even those with issues.
This is because unlike jogging or similar workouts, mountain biking is non-load bearing and a low impact workout. This means you’re not the one to carry your body weight. Instead, your entire body is supported by the bike you’re riding.
Sports like running usually puts a lot of stress on your joints due to the high level of impact you have to make with every step. However, with mountain biking, there’s very little chance of hurting your joints since the pressure is taken off through the act of sitting.
Wearing a helmet also makes the sports safer.
7. Get Rid of Body Fat
Just like any other seemingly overwhelming exercise, mountain biking can be beneficial to those looking to shred some body fat. Since the sport helps to promote the health and proper functioning of the cardiovascular system, it can also lead to weight loss.
When your heart rate increases, the pace at which your body is burning fat also increases. Just a 20 minutes run will convince you.
So instead of relapsing on your sofa to sip a beer and watch your favorite TV show, get up and engage new healthy habits like mountain biking. Trust me, there is no better way I can think of to enhance your overall physical, mental, and emotional health.
Hop on your steed and search for the nearest single-track, because you have no excuse not to now!
About The Author:
Aletha is an engineer by profession who loves to travel around the world and share her experience through blogging. She is a freelance writer at Mountain Bikes Only which provides valuable information about mountain biking.