Lance Armstrong and other prominent bikers brought biking firmly into the sports spotlight over a decade ago. Since then, biking has continued to boom in popularity. But a lot of the focus seems to be on-street biking. Mountain biking is another extremely popular and thrilling form of the sport that gives you even more health benefits, says Robert Goetschkes.
Mountain Biking Is Great Cardio Says Robert Goetschkes
Biking is already a great form of cardio, says Robert Goetschkes. It takes effort to propel yourself forward and keep your balance on the bike. But mountain biking takes cardio to a whole new level. The added resistance of the rugged terrain and the muscle control required to keep the bike upright and balanced all add to your gains and calories lost.
Mountain biking also requires you to engage most of your major muscle groups, including your abdominal muscles, glutes, and calves. These large muscle groups require a great deal of oxygen to function properly. This makes your heart work harder and build strength, increasing the strength of your cardiovascular system.
Mountain Biking Improves Your Mental Health
Mountain biking is also great for your mental health, says Robert Goetschkes. Like all forms of exercise, it releases dopamine and serotonin, both of which fight symptoms of depression and anxiety and decrease stress. These feel-good chemicals can lift your mood both temporarily and in the long term.
Regular, vigorous exercise also helps regulate your sleep cycle and improve your quality of sleep. Lack of sleep can cause an inability to focus, irritability, fatigue, and worsen symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Mountain Biking Gets You Outside
Mountain biking isn’t just great cardio–it’s also a sport that gets you outside and in touch with nature. Fresh air and sunshine aren’t just pleasant–they’re actually physically good for you. Spending time outside helps ensure that you’re getting the proper dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps ensure that you’re absorbing the appropriate amount of calcium for strong bones and teeth. Lack of vitamin D can also affect your mood and worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Being outside is also good for regulating your nervous system, says Robert Goetschkes. Did you know that just looking at a picture of a tree can lower your blood pressure? It’s a phenomenon that’s even more effective when you’re actually outside and surrounded by nature. Lower blood pressure means a healthier heart, less stress, and lower chances of hypertension.
Mountain biking is a perfect way to stay healthy, get outside, and find a like-minded community, says Robert Goetschkes. Just try it and find out!