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The Benefits of Mountain Bike Riding

December 2nd, 2022
a man riding a bike at lake mountian

Bike riding is a healthy, fun and low impact exercise that can be done at any age. Mountain biking can offer even more benefits than traditional cycling disciplines. This is particularly evident when it comes to the full-body workout it gives you, requiring you to use your arms and upper body as much as you do your legs. With split second decision making as you traverse the trail, this discipline is also quite the brain workout.

The benefits of mountain biking are plentiful. From weight loss, improved skin and disease prevention to reduced stress, improved quality of sleep and social interaction, mountain biking is an activity that can improve your life in many ways. So have a read, grab your bike and start reaping the rewards through the power of the pedal.

a woman wearing a mountain bike helmet

Reasons to Try Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is a relatively easy sport to get into. It can be as much an exciting hobby as it can be a form of exercise. The sport is not only a fun activity, it really doesn’t take too much time to improve and become a competent rider. It’s a great social activity, and doesn’t have to be taken too seriously, so you can get healthy without feeling like you are working too hard.

As we’ll discuss in this article, the benefits of mountain bike riding are numerous and will help improve your quality of life. As well as the more apparent physical benefits, you’ll be happy to know there are many social and mental health benefits associated with the sport as well. One of the great things about taking part in mountain biking is that as you improve, you can adjust and increase the level of intensity of your sessions and take on more challenging trails.

To find out more about mountain biking check out our guide to the mountain biking basics, which will give you an idea on what it takes to get started in the sport.

Getting Started Mountain Biking

It doesn’t take too much to get into mountain biking. At the minimum, all you need is a hill and a bike. You don’t necessarily need a mountain to get into mountain biking either. There may be a local trail near your house, a gravel road or unused back road that can make a great substitute and training ground before heading to the mountains.

Mountain biking is an action packed sport that will keep you entertained all day long. As with all action sports, the right equipment can enhance your experience and keep you safe. If you’re just starting out, the bare minimum you want will be a bike helmet that fits you well, along with comfortable and breathable clothing that you can move in. If you are more interested in getting all the gear, check out our blog on what to wear mountain biking to see the latest and best recommendations for a day on the trails.

An entry level bike doesn’t cost too much, particularly if you find one second hand. There are many places that hire out mountain bikes, giving you the chance to try out the sport first and get a feel for what kind of bike works for you. Why not hire a bike for the day at Lake Mountain Resorts on your next visit? We have bikes to suit all ages and skill levels and gear to keep you equipped and safe.

a person riding a bike

Health Benefits of Mountain Biking

Besides being an enjoyable activity that all ages can get involved in, mountain biking offers numerous health benefits. From better stamina to heart health, a regular mountain bike routine can lead to plenty of upside. Here are some of the great ways mountain biking can improve your health:

Heart Health

Mountain biking strengthens heart muscles, lowers resting heart rate and reduces the levels of fat in your blood. As you improve and become a more capable mountain biker, the intensity and length of your sessions will increase and with this so will your heart strength and health.

Weight loss

An easy aerobic exercise to get into, bike riding is known to be one of the best calorie burning activities. According to Harvard Health, 30 minutes on the mountain bike can burn up to 300 calories. This number can go up drastically when you increase the difficulty on the trails.

Whole body workout

Mountain biking gives you a chance to workout the muscles across your entire body. As you would expect, the legs are going to get worked pretty hard, but as you tackle obstacles, bumps and turns, your arms and core are being worked also, providing a full body workout.

Disease prevention

According to the Victorian Government Better Health, cycling can help to protect you from serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack, cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis, making it a great activity for long-term health.

Low impact sport / less stress on joints

Mountain biking is a low-impact, non load bearing sport. Compared to activities such as running, mountain biking puts less stress on the body. The physical actions in mountain biking also help work and strengthen the body’s joints and ligaments, improving their function, and assisting with repair and injury prevention.

Better posture

The more you hop on that bike and tackle those trails, the more your core muscles are going to be strengthened. Mountain biking helps build strength, balance and coordination. Along with these improvements you will see your posture improve also.

Better skin

Bike riding helps reduce the body’s production of cortisol, which is a major influencer on the health of our skin. So the more you cycle, your skin will be less oily, less clogged with pores and there will be a lower risk of skin conditions and acne.

a family mountain biking in nature

Social Benefits of Mountain Biking

Health benefits aside, mountain biking is a great way to stay socially active. The thrill of the ride is a fantastic thing to share with friends and family, and there is a great community spirit in the sport. Here are some of the social benefits associated with mountain biking:

Helps you connect with other riders

Mountain biking will offer you an opportunity to connect with other like-minded people, form bonds and encourage one another. There are plenty of clubs, groups and online forums where you can get in touch with other mountain bike riders.

Make new friends

It’s not always easy to make new friends as an adult. So it can be very beneficial to take on new hobbies and new challenges. Interacting with others and making new friends is a well-known way to improve confidence and self-awareness , enhance self esteem, and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. As we mentioned, joining clubs, groups and online forums is an easy way to connect with like-minded people who may share similar passions and interests.

Connect with nature

Mountain biking is known as a green exercise, a category of exercise activity that can offer the double-benefit of both getting the blood pumping and improving your self-esteem and mood. The Queensland Government Health website suggests that even as little as ten minutes of activity outdoors can have a beneficial effect.

Can be a great family activity

A day mountain biking is a wonderful way to spend time with family, especially the little ones. Not only is it a great way to encourage members of the family to get away from the screens and get outdoors, it gives the family an opportunity to bond and make memories.

a close up mage of a woman mountain biking

Mental Health Benefits of Mountain Biking

As with most physical activity, there are huge upsides to staying active when it comes to mental health. Here are some of the main ways mountain biking can improve your mental health and wellbeing:

Reduced stress and anxiety

Bike riding can be linked to lower incidences of depression, stress and anxiety. This is due to the general mental health benefits of exercise and because bike riding can be such an enjoyable pastime at any level.

Better quality sleep

One of the greatest health issues for modern-day adults tends to be a lack of quality sleep. Physical exercise has always been a great contributor to better quality sleep. Getting on the bike more regularly will make it easier to nod off in the evenings and improve the ability to get unbroken high quality sleep, which helps restore the body and soothe the mind.

Release endorphins / better mood

The physical demands of mountain bike riding helps release endorphins, the best type of hormones, which help relieve pain, reduce stress and improve the mood. Exercise boosts serotonin in the brain, which is great for the mood and helps reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.

Brain power and concentration

Your speed, the line you are taking, and staying safe requires plenty of focus when on the trail. This means a mountain bike session is just as much a brain workout as it is a physical one. As you get more into mountain biking you will likely find yourself with better focus and concentration when you go about your day to day business.

The benefits of mountain biking cannot be denied. As well as being a memorable time in the great outdoors, a session out on the trails pounding the pedals will improve your physical, social and mental wellbeing. Check out our Lake Mountain trails page which gives up to date information for all the trails on offer, as well as a condition report and access times. Lake Mountain also offers mountain bike shuttle passes that you can book ahead of time to get you up the mountain and on the trails sooner. The only thing left to do now is get out there and start improving your quality of life.

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