Looking for ways to enhance your usual workout while having some fun at the same time? Why not try mountain biking? Not only is the sport a great enhancement to any existing fitness routine, it can also provide a much needed dose of adrenaline from time to time as well. But mountain biking can do more than just deliver thrills. It is a bonafide way to get in shape while enjoying the outdoors. Here are five ways mountain biking will help improve your level of fitness and well-being.
Build Strong Legs
Riding off-road brings a host of new challenges that makes mountain biking very different from road cycling. One off those challenges is riding on trails that require a lot more effort to get up and down. Additionally, a mountain bike is heavier than a road bike, which means you’ll have to work even harder, and probably won’t be going nearly as fast. But the end result is a great workout for the legs, building and toning muscles with surprising efficiency.
Work the Core Too
Mountain biking doesn’t just provide a great workout for your legs however. It is actually one of those activities that works your entire body, including your arms, legs, chest, abs, and back too. Having to maintain balance while riding over rough terrain requires strength and flexibility, and while your legs will certainly drive the bike forward, it is your core that will keep it upright and stable. Additionally, a strong core is vital when climbing steep hills, where strength and balance must work together to help you reach the top.
Burn Calories Fast
We already know that cycling is a good, low-impact, way to lose weight, but it turns out mountain biking is even better. Taking your bike off-road causes your body to burn even more calories, helping to shed pounds at faster rate. Mountain bikers can burn as many as 1000 calories per hour depending on the terrain, and the intensity and speed at which they ride. That’s on par with running, which is widely considered to be one of the most calorically demanding types of exercise.
It’s Good For the Mind
Since mountain biking takes you away from crowded, busy streets, and onto trails surrounded by nature, it can have a highly positive effect on your mind too. Studies have shown that people who spend time in the outdoors tend to be happier, have better cognitive skills, and face fewer problems with depression as well. Additionally, being outdoors provides exposure to the sun, which stimulates vitamin D production too. The long term health benefits from that alone are amazing.
When it comes to exercise, there are few things more motivating than having a friend or two to workout with. A bit of spirited competition can increase the intensity level dramatically, but the social aspects of interacting with friends makes it more enjoyable. It turns out, mountain biking is a very social sport, and that is a large part of its appeal. Not only will you enjoy riding the trail with friends and family, you can actually challenge each other to go a little faster, climb a bit more quickly, and explore new, and more demanding, trails. Having someone to ride with will encourage you to hit the trail more often, and that ultimately is a good thing for your level of fitness too.
Exercise and nature is a killer combination, and mountain biking delivers that and a whole lot more. If you’re looking for a way to shake up your workout routine, consider what the sport has to offer. It may not be something you can do on a daily basis, but adding it in once or twice a week will do wonders for you health and raise your enthusiasm for working out