5 Health Benefits of Mountain Biking

health benefits of mountain biking, mountain biking health, health and fitness benefits of biking
March 1st, 2016

You’ve just finished a two hour ride through flowing singletrack, your adrenaline is pumping, your heart rate is high, beads of sweat are rolling down your face and you are present - in the moment. You look around at the staggering beauty of the natural environment and smile at the genuine excitement you get from hitting the trails with friends. A post-ride beer is consumed.

 

Have you experienced this feeling? If so, keep doing it. If you haven’t, I would highly encourage you to grab your mountain bike and hit the trails. Why? Because it will make you healthier.


Here are 5 Health Benefits of Mountain Biking

1. Mountain Biking Decreases Stress

Do not underestimate the power of nature and green spaces to change your mood and general health. The environment around you has a huge impact on how you perceive the world and how you feel on any given day. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, you may feel overwhelmed, stressed and hurried. Once you hit the trails, and immerse yourself in a forest or natural landscape, studies have shown that stress levels are reduced, blood pressure decreases and your overall well-being increases. Don’t believe it? Compare your body's reaction when biking on city roads vs. mountain biking on incredible singletrack through your local trail network. There's a reason the Japanese art of 'forest bathing" is becoming popular in the Western world, except we like to call it 'forest bike bathing.'


2. Mountain Biking is Easier on Your Joints

If you have bad knees, mountain biking can offer great exercise, while having minimal impact on your joints. Running can often lead to hip and knee problems from hitting the hard pavement, but biking is easier on your body.   

3. Mountain Biking Encourages You To Live In the Moment

Mountain bikers are great yogis. It’s hard to think about anything else but biking when you’re hopping over logs, riding through streams and around tight corners with trees on either side. You have to be focused on riding , be in the moment to avoid injuries and get the most out of the experience. You will forget about doing your taxes, your annoying boss or recent troubles - and instead, release loads of happy endorphins that will have you smiling from ear to ear.

4. Mountain Biking Makes for a Healthy Heart

Mountain biking will get your heart pumping. Steep climbs will challenge your cardiovascular strength and over time your heart will become stronger. The recovery period for those climbs will decrease and you will find it easier to accomplish longer, and more challenging rides.

5. Mountain Biking Creates Social Connections

I recently watched a TED Talk by Harvard researcher Robert Waldringer, entitled “What’s Makes a Good Life? Lessons From The Longest Study on Happiness” - want to know the secret to a good life? Well, according to Robert’s study it’s high quality social relationships. The closer you are with friends and family, the happier you will be in the long run. So, what does this have to do with mountain biking? EVERYTHING. Mountain biking encourages trailside chats with bike buddies and post-ride beers to debrief the ride and talk about life. Mountain biking brings people together, to teach each other new skills, learn from others and create memorable experiences in beautiful places.