You’re probably aware of the fact that regular exercise is good for your health. But going to the gym or working out at home can get quite boring sometimes. If you’re considering trying something new, maybe mountain biking is the right choice for you. It’s a full-body and mind exercise, that combines working out and adrenaline rush. You can’t consider yourself a real adrenaline junky if you haven’t tried mountain biking.
It’s not only about adrenaline and exercise. It makes you feel good in your skin, you get to know yourself better, and improve your mental health. When everyday stress gets to you, the best thing you can do for yourself is hop on two wheels, and ride away. Because nothing feels better than the wind in your hair and adrenaline in your veins. Still not convinced? Here are 7 reasons why you should give mountain biking a chance.
1. Improved health
Believe it or not, mountain biking is great for your health. This type of cardio workout is beneficial for more than just your muscles. Being outside, breathing in the fresh air, and exercising is a winning combination for your cardiovascular system.
To reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, it’s recommended to ride your bike for at least 30 km per week. Paddling on your mountain bike strains large muscle groups that require a high level of oxygen in your body which means it’s an amazing workout for your heart. Even though you may feel like you’re dying on that climb, biking dilates your blood vessels and keeps them clear. In addition to that, it’s great for folks who suffer from high blood pressure.
Considering how strenuous biking is, without breathing properly, you’re going to get tired faster. By riding a bike regularly, the volume of your lungs increases up to 25%. This is essential for the stamina. Stamina is important for longer bike rides and endurance, so you must work on building your stamina.
2. Full-body workout
It’s quite obvious that by biking you build your legs, calves, and thighs as well as large muscle groups in your body. But, for biking you also need to use other muscles that are often overlooked- for example, strengthening your core and abdominal muscles helps you keep the balance and is required for staying upright, strong arms and upper body is needed for controlling the bike and steering the wheel, especially on the steep terrain. This means that mountain biking works on plenty of muscles that regular, road biking misses. In addition to that, it also fixes any imbalances that develop while regular cycling.
Mountain biking is a type of cardio that is considered “low impact” as it doesn’t put too much pressure on your joints and bones compared to some other cardio exercises like running. If done right, this type of calorie-burning exercise can be used while recovering from an injury. It activates pretty much all of your muscles and helps you regain your fitness.
Besides that, it keeps you perfectly fit. You could literally eat a horse, and stay slender as this type of biking can burn up to 1000 calories per hour! It speeds up your metabolic rate and helps you stay in the best shape.
3. Memory and reflexes
If you want to improve your mental activity and thinking, spend time outside doing cardio-respiratory exercises such as cycling. It improves and builds up new brain cells responsible for memory. These type of cells can be found in the hippocampus- the region of your brain where most of the retained information go. As previously said, it dilates your blood vessels which accelerate blood flow and oxygen supply to your brain. That means that biking regenerates receptors.
Even though biking may not be your main activity, it’s beneficial for you in many other ways. By cycling you improve your reflexes and reactions, which can be used for other sports as well. It happens while you’re choosing the right path, dealing with obstacles, making split-second decisions, and dealing with many other things quickly as they come your way, such as predicting outcomes of your tricks. This aspect is really rewarding and you’ll come down feeling like a real champ.
4. Social benefits
Even though mountain biking is something you could do by yourself, the feeling is so much better if you share it with family, friends, or other enthusiasts. This sport doesn’t have an age restriction and everyone can try it no matter the fitness level.
If you’re feeling a bit down, nothing can fix your mood like a bike ride with close friends. Social interaction is good for you mentally, and it improves your health. Don’t be down in the dumps if your friends or colleagues aren’t as enthusiastic about riding a bike as you are. You can always join a cycling club and spend a wonderful weekend with like-minded people. Maybe you’ll meet some new friends along the way.
5. Being outdoor
Mountain biking truly brings us closer to nature and helps us escape the concrete jungle we live in. Connecting with nature and disconnecting from technology is indeed difficult in this modern world. If you can distance yourself from the stress of daily life and enjoy biking in nature at least once a week, you’ll be much happier. So why don’t you take up mountain biking, and enjoy breathing the fresh air far away from busy roads and frowned faces? This isn’t only more pleasant, but it’s a lot safer to ride far away from cars.
Besides that, outdoor biking is a free exercise. You don’t need to pay for a gym membership to indulge in this type of cardio. And many would say that it’s even better than the treadmill. The only thing you need is good weather, or bad if you don’t mind getting wet, goodwill and a bike.
If you haven’t tried biking, you wouldn’t know how beneficial it is. Exercise produces feel-good hormones such as endorphins that give you that feeling of satisfaction during and after the workout. In addition to that, biking produces a hormone called norepinephrine, also knows as the stress hormone, which improves your mood after the ride. Related to that, biking encourages the “I can do it” attitude. Once you’ve mastered a tricky obstacle or completed a long run, that attitude will help you approach your off-wheels life more positively.
To achieve an emotionally calm and mentally clear state, you should focus on an object, activity or thought. This process is known as meditation. You don’t need to be a yogi master to meditate. Just jump on your bike, give your body a full control of what it’s doing, and clear your brain, let your thought wander around. It’s the perfect method for reducing stress and constant anxiety. Related to that, it teaches you how to breathe properly. From time to time, it’s important to take a break, rest your mind, and indulge in an activity you love. Not only does it help you control your emotions better, but it also helps you focus on your other tasks, and get back refreshed.
7. Guide for beginners
Every biker probably remembers their first time. It was terrifying and nerve-wracking, yet at the same time, it was thrilling and fun. Riding over different types of terrain is hard, but mastering it will boost your self-confidence. Are you thinking about trying mountain biking for the first time? Hop on your two wheels and follow these tips for biking for beginners every expert would recommend.
The first and one of the most important things is letting your bike do its job. Don’t stiffen your body and muscles, so your bike can move freely beneath you. We can’t stress enough how important it is not to be seated on the saddle while riding over rocky terrain. The “harder” the terrain is, the more space your bike needs to move. Don’t try the steepest and most dangerous trails on your first run. If you aren’t confident enough, you’re more likely to injure yourself, so take it easy. Learn how to maintain momentum. It may sound ridiculous, but when approaching the challenging terrain, to clear through the trail easier, you need to maintain the same speed or even speed up. It’s also important to be cautious while riding on steep inclines and declines. Shifting your weight forward will help you climb a tough incline. To maintain traction, keep your center of the gravity over the front wheel by leaning forward. While going down the steep decline, it’s important not to grab the brakes as you may injure yourself. Adjust your speed before the tricky terrain and just maintain it through it. Practice and experience will make it perfect.
Even though trying mountain biking for the first time can be challenging, not giving up and regularly exercising can bring great benefits your way. Not only will you feel better physically, but your mental health will improve as well. No wonder they say that cycling is a great activity for body and mind. Once you try it, we’re sure you’ll love it. And the best part is that you can enjoy biking with your family and friends. So what are you waiting for?