Mountain biking is the perfect workout for your body and mind. As you’re racing up mountains or tearing down them, you’ll be exercising more than your legs.
The NHS recommends that we all exercise more, getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. Sure, you could get this chasing a ball or pounding a treadmill, but we believe exercise is much more fun and fulfilling outdoors and on two wheels – and science seems to agree.
Here are 10 health benefits you’ll get from mountain biking.
1. Whole-body muscle work out
Of course, you’ll be giving your upper and lower leg muscles a serious workout, but mountain biking will strengthen your whole body. As you tackle obstacles, you’ll work your core muscles and arms too. Whether you’re riding out of the saddle or on it, mountain biking is the most complete form of bike riding and whole-body exercise.
2. Weight loss
Whether you ride at high-intensity or low-intensity, any time spent on your bike could take inches off your waistline. You can burn 600-800 calories an hour while riding, more if you’re at high-intensity.
Ride regularly, and you’ll shift those extra pounds in no time.
3. Joint health
As well as working out your muscles you’ll be using all of your joints, keeping them working better for longer. Rigorous exercise such as mountain biking will strengthen the muscles while exercising joints and ligaments. This can improve the function of joints, protecting and repairing them, says the Arthritis Foundation.
4. Disease prevention
Regular exercise can have massive benefits for your health, including dramatically reducing your risk of developing life-limiting conditions. According to the NHS, exercise can reduce your risk of developing major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.
It’s never too late to start either, with exercise having a positive impact on your health whenever you do it.
5. Better posture
Every mile you ride, you’re strengthening your core muscles as well as those in your legs and arms. This will all help to improve your posture when you get off the bike. After you’ve ridden your heart out on the trails or tracks, stand tall and proud.
6. Improved mental wellbeing
All exercise can improve self-esteem, mental health and wellbeing, says the Mental Health Foundation – and we agree. As well as losing weight and working your body muscles, you’re getting closer to nature and the benefits that brings.
After completing a mountain bike ride, your body releases endorphins, which make you feel better about yourself and the world around you. That’s what makes mountain bike riding the ultimate stress buster!
7. Better coordination and concentration
Mountain biking can be very technical, working out your brain as well as your body as you navigate tricky courses and technical sections. As well as improving coordination, you’re improving concentration too – focusing on speed and safety as you work out your safest route.
8. A healthier heart
Exercise strengthens the heart and can lower blood pressure. Add in its stress-busting and calorie-burning benefits, and you’re doing a huge amount to improve your heart’s health.
Mountain biking is excellent exercise, as you can vary intensity, with rigorous bouts of effort balanced with less-intensive periods. Over time you can also increase the intensity.
9. Better quality sleep
Physical exercise can improve sleep quality, meaning you sleep better and for longer, too. Researchers have found that people who exercise find it easier to drop off and are more likely to experience unbroken, high-quality sleep that helps to restore the body and soothe the mind.
10. Bigger, better appetite
After an exhausting mountain bike ride, you’ll want to refuel adequately and effectively with the right foods. The NHS has provided some information on foods that can provide the energy you need while riding and how you can seal in the benefits with a post-ride meal or snack.
Mountain biking will increase your appetite, and with the calories you’ve burned, you can safely serve up an extra-large portion – just remember to eat your greens.
If you’re inspired by the health benefits of adventure riding, check out our selection of mountain bikes. You can view the full range of men’s mountain bikes and women’s mountain bikes online or drop into a store where you can get up close and personal before you head off-road.