The benefits of mountain biking
Health and fitness benefits of climbing every mountain
Mountain biking has numerous health benefits, including building up your cardiovascular system and leg muscles, and is also perfect for those returning from injury as it is a non-load-bearing sport. Here’s some top reasons why you should get involved with mountain biking to improve your health.
Mountain biking is fun and it’s good for relationships!
Mountain biking makes for an ideal family activity, with child seats and trailers enabling you to bring your family with you at virtually any age. It's great for couples too, and is something you can do together.
Mountain biking builds leg strength
Using a bike can help tone your quad, calf and glut (buttock) muscles as well as strengthen your tendons, without any load bearing. Even better is to combine it with a weights program in the gym. Just ask any of the instructors in your gym for a program to combine weights and the bike.
Mountain biking optimizes fat burning
Fat burning takes place when your heart rate is at around 65 to 75 per cent of your maximum (your maximum is 220 less your age for men and 225 less your age for women). You can measure your heart rate manually or by using a monitor, which can be linked up to a stationary bike in the gym. Many gym bikes also have digital displays that tell you your heart rate if you place your hands on the sensors. By measuring your heart rate correctly you can then use the bike to help you burn fat and so lose weight. It’s particularly easy to keep at the correct level on a stationary bike and achieve the 20 minutes needed to see some real benefit.
Mountain biking is a great way to work the cardiovascular system
Your heart and lungs make up your cardiovascular system and the fitter you become, the more efficiently they work. This means a better flow of blood through your body and a corresponding increase in the speed with which the oxygen is pumped through your system. Your fitness level depends on how well this process is carried out. It is made more effective by using equipment such as the bike, that works the heart and lungs slowly and to a pre-determined level. By increasing your training on the bike over time, there is an associated improvement in the performance of your cardiovascular system and therefore your fitness level.
Mountain biking is non-load-bearing so reduces risk of injury
Another advantage of cycling is that it is a non-load bearing form of exercise. By that we mean that your whole body is not being supported during your training as it is when you run for example. The very action of sitting means that a degree of pressure is being taken off your joints, meaning there is a reduced chance of injury. Many people who are returning to training after an injury use the bike as a way of regaining fitness as they can gradually increase fitness levels without putting pressure on a potentially suspect joint or tendon.
Mountain biking is the ideal holiday activity
Take your bikes with you on holiday or hire one and you will cover far more ground than you would on foot! Many families now choose cycling breaks as a great way to get to know an area and have fun together.