In the past couple of years, more and more men are taking up mountain biking as the fitness hobby of their choice. One might start to wonder, why is that? What makes mountain biking, or biking in general, all that great? Well, there are quite a few things that would attract a man to mountain biking, and here are a few examples to prove it.
Getting your cardio workouts
Every man needs a certain degree of cardio exercise. Endurance is just as important as strength, and this is something cardio aims to improve. Regular exercise provides you with cardiovascular fitness, no matter what form it takes. However, it’s important to note that certain cardio exercises are a lot more effective than others.
Riding a bike is undoubtedly one of the more popular cardio exercises out there. It’s as straightforward as it gets. There’s a bit of a challenge involved, but you can dictate how challenging it is. You can ride on flat surfaces for miles upon miles and get your cardio workout in a more relaxing way. If you choose to work out on a slope, like with mountain biking, you can get more out of your workout with less time spent on the road. It all depends on your current physical shape and fitness goals.
Most importantly, riding a bike is fun. You get to enjoy the sun and fresh air while getting light or heavy workouts. This will motivate anyone to keep riding until they get exhausted, which is part of the point of cardio.
It’s also one of the better ways to improve your overall cardio health. Studies have shown that regular bicycle riding on a weekly basis can cut heart disease risk in half. The heart works steadily to supply every muscle group with enough blood and oxygen at a tempered pace. This makes it ideal for improving and maintaining heart health, which is something every man should strive for.
Reducing stress in the long-term
Unfortunately, stress has become a normal part of everyday life in today’s world. There’s enormous pressure on everyone to give a hundred percent of themselves to their profession, academic success, social life, and hobbies all at once. This adds up to around four hundred percent, which is as unreasonable as it gets. The building pressure is manifesting itself as stress, and there’s more than enough of that to go around nowadays. Sometimes meditating can help and sometimes physical activity is everything you need.
Physical activity has long been known as a great remedy for stress. When you really get your blood pumping, your body produces endorphins, which are natural painkillers and stress-relievers. Doing exercises on a regular basis can provide relaxation and a sense of serenity to those who experience increased stress.
Activities like biking are favorites for decreasing stress levels. Not only do you get optimal physical activity, but you also get to enjoy the extra benefits of being outdoors. What better place to be outdoors than in a mountainous area? There’s lots of fresh air and wonderful nature around you, so you get to relax even more. There’s nothing quite as calming as spending time in nature, far away from the stresses and responsibilities of home. Couple with some hardcore exercise, you get a two-in-one health boost that will leave you feeling energetic as ever.
Enjoying nature in all its beauty
Spending time outside in the great outdoors is a favorite pastime of many gentlemen. What form it takes doesn’t matter all that much. Some will prefer to walk around parks and forests to absorb the smell and atmosphere, while others will prefer environments like the sea, desert, mountains, etc. It’s important that you spend some time in the outdoors, as it’s something that improves your mindfulness and gives your lungs a nice breather. Spending all your time cooped-up at your place in the city isn’t doing the lungs any favors.
Exploration plays a big part in the enjoyment of natural environments. Most people aren’t going to explore a huge part of a mountain on foot. At least, they won’t do this all at once. Riding a bike through trails can definitely allow you to cover more ground and see more breathtaking sights. It’s a lot easier to organize yourself and explore deeper into nature when you have your transport with you at all times. This makes mountain biking a much more convenient option for exploring nature, bringing you closer to fresh air and great cardio.
Improving balance and coordination
Balance is a big part of fitness that many enthusiasts seem to disregard. No matter what type of exercises you partake in, you need a degree of balance and coordination to do them properly. Otherwise, you’re going to find it a lot more difficult to efficiently work out, and there’s a slightly bigger risk of getting injured. This is why many fitness experts emphasize the importance of core workouts and exercises that keep you stable.
Activities, like running on a treadmill or working a stair stepper, require a degree of balance, but they don’t create it. Most gym and home activities aren’t dynamic enough to give you quality exercise while improving your balance. You either have to incorporate further workouts that focus on balance alone or try to do some more effective dynamic exercises.
Mountain biking is especially good at providing extra balance to riders. You’re constantly making micro-adjustments with your entire body just to stay on the bike. Couple this with the need to readjust whenever you hit the slightest bump and biking becomes a recipe for the most intense balance workout. These slight movements strengthen your neural pathways and make it a lot easier to find balance when doing other activities and workouts. Obviously, you also get to improve your balance for quicker and more daring runs on your bike.
Lessening joint pain
When working out, it’s important you take care of more than just your muscles. Your joints are just as important for proper stability and muscle strength, though many fitness enthusiasts and athletes pay little mind to them. It’s crucial that you pay attention to your joint health if you want to avoid any pain and difficulties later on.
The problem with many aerobic and anaerobic exercises is that they put a lot of pressure on the joints. With proper warming up and technique, this doesn’t present a problem in the short term. However, long-term effects are felt by many after years of exercising. This is why low impact exercises are catching on nowadays, including activities like mountain biking.
Biking itself puts very little pressure on your joints. It’s one of the first activities a physician will recommend to overweight individuals for losing weight, simply because it won’t impact their joints. Compare it to aerobic exercises like running, and it becomes quickly apparent that biking comes out on top when it comes to joint health.
Even mountain biking doesn’t cause any joint problems. Any shocks that come from jumping or hitting bumpy terrain are absorbed by the bike’s suspension system. You feel the jolt, but your joints remain unharmed. Mountain biking leaves your joints stable and healthy enough for you to partake in other exercises. There’s no reason you should cross-out every single high-impact exercise out there. You need some of them for muscle building and endurance. However, don’t let them be your main focus, as your joints can suffer from prolonged periods of these exercises.
Part of successfully maintain your fitness regime is to fully commit to it. It’s not a temporary phase that will get you fit, buff, or healthy, but rather a long-term change in your lifestyle. The problem with this is that fitness is generally not seen as absolutely essential in anyone’s life, which isn’t at all unreasonable. If you’re a man that works or studies, you’ll probably skip out on a single workout when a huge project is due for the next day. If it’s something really important, working out can wait.
Unfortunately, this lapse in scheduling often transfers to other, less essential situations. People skip out on working out for a number of different reasons. This makes it more difficult to maintain a rhythm in your exercise regime, which isn’t good practice.
Mountain biking is pretty easy to get committed to, considering it’s a pretty fun social activity. Getting fresh air and outdoor exercise is generally considered more fun than staying in a gym or at home. Plus, the necessary preparation adds to the commitment. Even before you decide to set out on a ride, you need to get a bike. When you do find a reliable mountain bike all for yourself, it’s something you’ve already committed to. You’re sure that you want to try this sport out, so you might as well go through with it. Plus, it’s pretty great modifying your bike to your tastes. You customize it and add different features that make it more comfortable and easier to use in the wilderness.
Increasing social interaction and confidence
Biking is a fun activity all on its own, but it’s made even more fun when done in groups. This is especially true for mountain biking. When you’re up there riding and having the time of your life, it would be nice to have someone to chat with while you’re taking a break to drink some water and relax. Plus, doing sweet tricks on your custom mountain bike only counts if someone’s there to see it.
The good news is that mountain biking is already a very popular social activity, so there’s no shortage of people willing to tag along for a trip. There are many clubs and groups that partake in this sport and it’s pretty easy to get a membership, as long as you enjoy mountain biking.
It’s a great opportunity to build some personal bonds and get to know others that also like adrenaline-filled sports. Riding throughout the mountains becomes more fun when you can exchange experiences and see new paths that you might not have noted before. Not only do you get to exercise and get your blood pumping, but you also make some friends along the way.
Better shut-eye at night
It’s no secret that we don’t get enough sleep these days. There are lots of reasons for this phenomenon. For one, the aforementioned increase in work and ambitions is definitely a big factor. When you want to achieve better results and give it your all, it’s likely that you won’t be seeing a lot of sleep.
It’s also worth mentioning that a lot of men like to stay awake in the later hours of the night. Insomnia is a pretty common problem in today’s society. It leads to issues like constant fatigue and trouble getting up in time for work or school. It’s also a problem that can be solved with a bit of physical activity.
When you finish any kind of exercise, in most cases you’re going to feel pretty worn out and exhausted. This is a pretty normal response to working out. However, you probably won’t feel too sleepy unless you do your workouts late at night. You’ll probably feel pretty energized and awake. On the other hand, your cortisol will slowly drop as you progress in your workout.
This is a hormone that keeps you awake. It’s generally secreted in cycles, but things like stress also affect it. An activity like this helps balance-out the cortisol in your body, making it easier for you to fall asleep later. Spending time outside during the day also helps balance out your cortisol by stimulating your internal sleep cycle. Finding an activity that does both would be a great way to improve your chances of getting quality shut-eye at night. As it happens, mountain biking achieves just that, and it makes sure to give you a satisfying workout at the same time.
Mountain biking is a pretty great activity, and not just for your general fitness needs. It helps get you closer to nature, friends, and your own body. This variety is what makes mountain biking an ideal physical activity for anyone that is on the fence regarding sports and gym workouts.