Benefits of Mountain Biking
Working out is important. Unfortunately, though, it can also be incredibly boring. After a long day at work, one of the last things many people want to do is go to the gym and log hours on the treadmill to get cardio. That’s where fun activities like mountain biking can change your life.
Mountain biking can be good for your mental, physical, and even your social health. As far as we’re concerned here at Curbside Cyclery in Phoenix, it’s also a lot more fun than heading to your gym for the same old cardio workout. There are tons of great places to go mountain biking here in the Valley, so consider going out for an exciting ride instead of hopping back onto that boring stationary bike.
What are the Health Benefits of Mountain Biking?
There are numerous physical benefits people can realize when they start mountain biking. Some of these benefits are the same ones you’d get from riding a stationary bike or doing any other kind of cardio. Other benefits might surprise you because they go so far above and beyond what you can get by using typical exercise equipment. With that in mind, let’s dive into some of our favorites.
1 – Improve Your Social Health
Most people get into biking because they want the physical health benefits of mountain biking, but you can actually reap social benefits at the same time.
Mountain biking is a great way to connect with old friends and even meet new ones, which makes it an effective social activity. Healthy relationships have been linked to a huge increase in psychological health, which dramatically increases your enjoyment of life.
2 – Improve Your Sleep
If you don’t sleep well, you probably feel tired all the time. If you’re tired all the time, you might not exactly feel like going for a hard workout. Mountain biking is an awesome way to break that cycle (no pun intended). One of the main benefits of mountain biking is that it’s so much more fun and exciting than other types of workouts.
For most people, this means it’s easier to get excited about cycling through the mountains than it is to hype yourself up for other types of workouts.
Once you can get over that initial hurdle of actually convincing yourself to exercise, things start to fall into place. You may feel something of a euphoric rush immediately following your ride, so don’t do it too late in the day. After that initial burst, though, you may find it’s easier to get quality sleep once you’ve burned plenty of energy pedaling up a mountain.
3 – What’s Good for the Body is Good for the Brain
Another of the unexpected health benefits of mountain biking is that it can improve your mental health. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that cardio and respiratory health were also linked to improved performance on mental tests. Exercising increases blood and oxygen flow, both of which your brain needs. You may realize gains in both the short and long term.
4 – Better Balance
Unlike a treadmill or stationary bike, riding your mountain bike makes you maintain balance as you go along. Improving your coordination and balance will also improve your performance when it comes to various sports and even some other daily tasks. Working on your balance may not seem like a huge deal to you now, depending on your health status and lifestyle. As you get older, though, you’ll probably be thankful for your mountain biking days because of how much more steady you are on your feet.
5 – Easy on the Joints
Compared to other cardio exercises like running, mountain biking can be a lot easier on your joints. The repetitive impact of running puts a lot of stress on your knees and other joints, leading to some serious aches and pains over time. Mountain biking is generally considered a low-impact sport, which makes it a great way to get a workout without putting so much pressure on your joints. This can help reduce the risk of injuries over time (especially if you can avoid wiping out).
6 – Pedal the Stress Away
Mountain biking is both physically and mentally demanding. Demanding so much from your body requires a lot of energy, and your body will release endorphins to help itself keep up. Neurotransmitters like serotonin are also known to help with depression and anxiety. Furthermore, forcing yourself to focus on the trail can take your mind off of whatever else is bothering you. Finally, you’re likely to improve your confidence and self-image by getting into better shape and learning new skills.
7 – Get a Healthy Heart
Like other types of regular exercise, mountain biking can positively impact your cardiovascular fitness. After all, that’s why we call it cardio exercise. Riding your bicycle regularly can help decrease your risk of coronary heart disease and improve heart health in other ways as well.
What Muscles Does Mountain Biking Work?
One of the best things about mountain biking is that it’s a full-body workout. Most people think about cycling as being really good for your calves, thighs, and but, which it is, but that’s not the only parts of your body it works. Staying balanced on your bike makes you engage your core, so mountain biking is also good for your abs and your upper body. This is one of the most effective (and most fun) ways to work on your entire body at once without hiring a personal trainer or buying access to an expensive workout program.
Why Your Bike Matters
It probably won’t come as a surprise that your bike is the most important tool when it comes to mountain biking. The one you choose will have a big impact on the types of trails you can tackle and how effective you’ll be. The size, weight, and quality of your bike can all have a big impact on how it performs. Choosing the right bike will allow you to ride better, and it can also help keep you safe. This is especially important if you want to experience challenging trails because doing so on the wrong bike can be dangerous.
What Bikes Are Best For Mountain Biking?
The best way to choose your mountain bike is to shop in person and get guidance from an expert. Think about how the bike style will match up with your riding style. From there, it will become easier to select components like the wheels, tires, frame materials, and suspension. Of course, it’s also important to make sure the bike is the right size, so get fitted by an expert if you’re not exactly sure how to take and apply your measurements.
Buy a Mountain Bike in Phoenix
People come from all over Maricopa County and the rest of the Valley to buy mountain bikes at Curbside Cyclery in Phoenix. This is because Mike has experience working with some of the world’s most competitive cyclists. Stop by today to get an expert bike fitting and plenty of advice about which mountain bike is best for you!
Image Credit: Dewald Kirsten/Shuttershock