You might ride your mountain bike regularly, but not all of you know the health benefits it offers. So, below are several great advantages you can gain when doing mountain biking.
Mountain biking has remained one of the most common and favorite outdoor activities over the last few decades. Riding mountain bikes is for not only recreation but also for health purposes. Since health concerns such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc., are increasing, physical fitness, typically outdoor exercises, is becoming more vital to all of our health.
Table of Contents
- 8 Health Benefits of Mountain Biking
8 Health Benefits of Mountain Biking
Great Whole Body Workout
It’s sure that you can easily recognize the calf muscles of a cycling enthusiast. However, you might not notice that you will use almost all your muscle groups while riding mountain bikes.
It is obvious that bike riding is a great physical exercise that builds strong thighs, legs, and calves, resulting in a tight butt. Besides, it can also strengthen your core and ab muscles because it requires you to stay upright while cycling. When going up hills or maneuvering turns, you also boost your upper body muscle groups.
Improve Heart Health
As you might all know, you can improve your heart or cardiovascular health by doing regular exercises. According to a study by the British Medical Association, riding bikes for at least 20 miles per week can decrease the possibility of heart attack disease by around 50%. Since mountain biking calls for a wide range of muscle groups in your body that calls for much oxygen to operate, it will make your heart function more steadily. As a result, it will raise your heart’s health by 3-7 percent.
Reduce Stress on the Joints
Mountain biking is considered a low-impact outdoor sport. That means your joints will suffer less strain than when doing other aerobic exercises such as swimming or running. For those who don’t know, mountain biking is also a kind of non weight bearing sport. In other words, when you sit on your bike and ride it, you will put less pressure on the overall joints and lessen the risk of getting them injured.
Whether you are riding your bike at a high or low intensity, you can lose a few centimeters of your waistline whenever you cycle. You can burn around 600 or 800 calories per hour during mountain biking. The number of calories burned can be even higher if you are at high intensity. Ride your MTB bike more regularly, and your weight will quickly change.
Every mile you cycle, you are making your muscles groups in your core, legs, and arms. This, as a result, can enhance your posture after a certain time of cycling.
Lower the Risk of Diseases
Regular reasonable exercise is popularly known as a good way to boot your immune system and make you healthier. According to the research from the University of North Carolina, those who ride around 30 minutes per day and 5 days per week will be less likely to get sick than those who don’t cycle. In addition, mountain biking can lower the incidence of breast cancer in women if they ride their bikes regularly, reported by the European Journal of Epidemiology.
Reduced Stress and Improved Mental Wellbeing
According to the Mental Health Foundation, all kinds of exercise can enhance mental health and wellbeing. What’s more, your body will release more endorphins after you finish your bike riding. This hormone can make you feel happier, better about yourself and the things around you. What’s more, it can relieve pain and stress.
Boost balance and coordination ability
Unlike cycling on a treadmill, mountain biking is a kind of dynamic activity. This means you will have to continuously adjust to different terrains, elevations, and pitches. Staying stable and safe on a mountain bike not only protects you from crashing but also improves nerve pathways and strengthens your muscles. Balance and coordination require calling for different resources of the brain, muscles, senses, and nervous system.
If you can keep these systems active, it can help you to prevent aging defects and reduce the possibility of getting injured from falls when you get older.
Improve Brain Power
According to research at the Illinois University, a 5% betterment in cardio-respiratory fitness from bike riding results in up to 15% melioration in mental tests. This is partly because of the building of brain cells in the hippocampus – an area of the brain that is in charge of memory. Professor Arthur Kramer also said that it could enhance oxygen and blood flow to the brain that activated and generated receptors. As a result, it could prevent Alzheimer’s.
Better Sleep Quality
You might feel tired and exhausted right after a bike ride. However, it will eventually result in improved restorative sleep needed for night sleep. Mountain biking can lower cortisol, a kind of steroid hormone that keeps us awake. As an outdoor sport, mountain biking will keep you exposed to daylight, keeping the body’s natural circadian wake/sleep cycle.
What’s more, it can increase the production of vitamin D in your body. Just make sure that you don’t ride your bike too powerfully when it’s too late in the day. This is because it can lead to the opposite effect of letting go of exhilarating endorphins that makes it harder for you to sleep.
Mountain biking will boost your cravings and appetite. And with the number of calories you have burned, you can safely refuel with a large portion. But remember to get the right foods. According to the NHS, there are some foods that can give you needed energy during your riding and how you can get benefits with a post-ride snack or food, such as recovery drinks and bars, eggs and toast, sweet potatoes, chocolate milkshake, chicken, etc.
Some studies have shown that social interactions and healthy relationships are the essential factors to happiness in your life. And mountain biking is one of the most common social activities that bring together a lot of riders to go out for cycling. It provides an ideal opportunity to build personal relationships and make new friends with people who share the same interest in mountain biking.
Mountain biking, more than any other kind of activity, is a great way to help you get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy life with noisy surroundings. Thus, you can enjoy the majesty and tranquility of nature.
According to some Japanese research, being immersed in nature can boost relaxation and lessen stress. On the other hand, the bustling urban environment will have the opposite effect of provoking the centers of dread and worry in the brain. So, spend more time riding your MTB bike, and you can become greener and more environmentally friendly.
The following part will give you answers to several popularly asked questions when it comes to the health benefits of mountain biking. Keep reading to find yours.
Will mountain biking get me in shape?
Absolutely yes. Mountain biking is considered one of the best strength training workouts. Since you will ride up and down hills a lot when riding your mountain bike, you will use an entire range of your muscles. It includes almost all the groups of muscles in your legs, back, arms, shoulders, core. It can even target your hand muscles because you have to grip the handlebar while riding.
What group of muscles does mountain biking work?
It can be said that almost all your body muscle groups will work when you ride your MTB bike. However, glutes and quadriceps are the two key muscle groups that work a lot. While the glutes are located in your buttocks, the quadriceps are the muscles in the front of your thighs.
Is mountain biking good for my abs?
Mountain biking works a number of muscle groups in your body that are mainly located in the lower body parts, such as glutes, hips, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Nevertheless, your abs can still have an excellent workout when you seriously do your best to stay healthy through your mountain biking.
Is mountain biking good for your heart?
I would say yes. In fact, mountain biking can improve your health in general and your heart in particular in different ways that you might not notice. According to some studies, mountain biking has been proven to enhance cardiovascular situations. This is because this activity requires the use of many muscle groups, which calls for more oxygen to function.
As you can see, mountain biking provides you with a lot of health advantages. Therefore, there is no reason you can refuse such a beneficial type of sport. All in all, riding your mountain bike can improve your overall physical, mental, and even emotional health.