We all know that regular exercise is good for you and we’re constantly being reminded of the benefits that come with it, but why is Mountain Biking specifically good for you? Here we look at just some of the reasons you should jump on an off-road machine and hit those trails.
1. Improved health
Regular exercise is known to improve cardiovascular fitness. The good news for cyclists is that the British Medical Association recently studied 10,000 people and found that riding a bike for at least 20 miles a week lessened the risk of coronary heart disease by almost 50%. Mountain Biking uses large muscle groups that require a lot of oxygen which means it’s a great workout for your heart. And because Mountain Biking terrain is so varied you’re sure to give your heart a really good workout.
2. Full body workout
It’s fairly obvious that Mountain Biking builds strong legs, thighs and calves as well as working the largest muscle in the body, the Gluteus Maximus. But the other muscles that are worked are often overlooked – for example, the balance required to stay upright strengthens your abdominal and core muscles, whilst steering and controlling the bike strengthens your upper body and arms. It works out plenty of muscles that road cycling misses, preventing any imbalances that can build up from regular road riding.
3. Low Impact
Cycling, and specifically Mountain Biking, is a low impact activity, putting less stress is put on your joints and bones compared to activities such as running. Mountain biking can be used by people who are returning to exercising after an injury as a way of regaining fitness without putting pressure on recovering injuries.
4. Improve your memory and reflexes
Research has shown that cardio-respiratory ﬁtness from cycling can lead to an improvement in mental thinking. This is because cycling helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus — the region responsible for memory. It boosts blood ﬂow and oxygen to the brain, which ﬁres and regenerates receptors.
Having to deal with obstacles, choosing the right lines and making split-second decisions when zooming down trails is a great way of improving your reflexes and reactions which translate into other sports, so even if mountain biking isn't your main activity, you'll still feel the benefit to your overall performance in the long run.
5. Social benefits
Mountain Biking is something that anyone can do no matter age or fitness level, meaning it’s the perfect activity for families, couples and friends. Social interaction has been shown to improve your mood, and ultimately your health, and biking with friends is the perfect way to do this. There’s a huge community around mountain biking and most cycling clubs have a dedicated group of MTB’ers, so even if none of your immediate friends or family ride, you can easily find some like-minded people to spend a muddy weekend with.
6.Car free environment
The beauty of Mountain Biking is that for the majority of time, you’re riding in a traffic free environment. This not only means that the riding is more pleasant but, perhaps more importantly, much safer than riding on the road or around a city.
7. Outside is free!
Once you’ve purchased your bike and gear, there are very little costs involved when it comes to riding your bike, meaning riding is not only good for you but also good for your wallet! You shouldn’t have to go far to find some great riding space without costing you a penny! Equally, being outside in nature is proven to improve your mood and reduce stress, so it’s great for the mind and the wallet.