According to a recent study by the British Medical Journal, physical activities such as mountain biking is known to lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
So, why not take out that bike lying in the garage and try out mountain biking?
When it comes to mountain biking, the two elements combined i.e mountains and biking make it a perfect blend of casual outing and a cardio workout.
To plan out a biking tour with your friends, it is always a good idea to make a rough plan. If there are some areas on your bucket list, make a plan to cover them as well.
And, something which goes without saying is, ensure proper safety while riding.
What Muscles Does Mountain Bikes Work?
The zig-zag turns, the up-hill climb and the irregular terrain will require the use of a lot of different muscles in the body. Let’s have a look at them.
Quadriceps or Quads: Located at the front of your thigh, these are among the strongest muscles in your body. These muscles come into action as you run, squat, and bike.
Hamstrings: These are a group of three muscles that help you flex your knee and in the case of biking will help you paddle backward.
Calves: Your calves are present on the backside of your lower leg and consist of three muscles. This muscle allows you to move forward and in the case of biking, helps you to sweep the paddle downwards and then move them between 6’o o’clock and 9’o o’clock position.
Hip flexors: These muscle groups are present in the front of your hips and are used to perform activities such as lifting legs or running. During biking the hip flexors help lift the pedal to go for another round so that you keep moving forward.
11 Health Benefits of Mountain Biking
In case you still haven’t made up your mind on why mountain biking is a great form of exercise, consider these health benefits which are bound to get you up and running!
1 ) Reduces the risk of Type-2 diabetes
The World Health Organization recommends a reduction in physical inactivity as a part of its global plan to control non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.
An NCBI study has linked the benefits of biking with reduced risk of Type-2 diabetes.
Besides this, it was also found that adults who took up regular biking between middle and old age were at a 20 percent lesser risk of having Type-2 diabetes as compared to the non-cyclists.
So, whether you look to prevent this condition or manage it, biking regularly is a fairly good idea as you want to avoid that sedentary lifestyle at all costs.
2 ) It can help in breast cancer prevention and management
Observational evidence has linked inactivity and obesity to increased risk of breast cancer as well as poor recovery in cases diagnosed with potentially curable breast cancer. Due to this reason, health experts encourage women to take up biking as a form of exercise.
Several papers published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational show us that lifestyle changes have the potential benefits of reduction in breast cancer risk.
Physical activity such as biking is a fantastic addition to your exercise regime which has resulted in lesser fatigue and side effects of breast cancer treatment along with improvement in the quality of life.
3 ) Beneficial even for osteoarthritis patients!
A 2018 study published in NCBI shows that middle-aged and elderly patients with osteoarthritis showed an improvement when a biking program was introduced in their routine.
This is a significant achievement as patients with osteoarthritis suffer from stiff joints which limits their movement and affects their strength, physical performance, and overall quality of life.
While resistance training is often advised to improve the symptoms, it can cause a higher load on joints. Therefore, moderate-intensity biking is recommended as the right alternative for such individuals.
In case you suffer from any such condition, biking is the way to go, so it’s time to incorporate it into your schedule.
4 ) Make way for a healthy heart
When it comes to the cardiovascular benefits of biking, they are plentiful. According to recent studies published in the scientific journal, Circulation, people who incorporated biking in their exercise routine were at a 15 percent less risk of a heart attack as compared to people who didn’t.
The thing to be noted was that even a half-hour biking session per week resulted in a lower chance of heart disease.
If you look for a more vigorous workout schedule, you can choose a difficult terrain to get your heart-pumping fast in a brief period. But whatever you try, do listen to your body and follow periods of rest in between.
5 ) Look cooler
And you thought only men on a Harley looked cool.
In a study by researchers at Mindlab, it was revealed that people perceived cyclists to be cool, generous, and intelligent. So now you have a shot.
It was found that around a quarter of people would like to go on a date with a cyclist as compared to other sportspersons.
When it comes to looking for love, about 32% want a partner to be physically active and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
6 ) Improved self-esteem
Did you ever think that getting on a bike would lead to a boost in your self-esteem?
Well, here’s the reason why it’s possible. A recent study published in the International Journal of Exercise Science shows a direct relation between self-esteem and physical activities.
Activities such as biking can help improves your condition by uplifting self steam and aiding recovery. As the participants worked on during the three-week study, their self-esteem scores went up by 11 percent.
Not bad when it comes to giving your mood a lift and enjoying a workout altogether.
7 ) Live longer
Activities such as mountain biking, commuting and bike tours help improve longevity, as suggested by an NCBI study. For individuals who shifted from car to bike, the positive effects in terms of months gained were between 3 to 14 months.
According to the WHO, 60 to 80 percent of the world’s population doesn’t meet the levels of physical activity required to achieve health benefits. To promote and maintain a healthy lifestyle, adults between 18 to 65 years of age require moderate-intensity physical activity, which in this case can easily be fulfilled by biking.
Leisurely biking or biking to the workplace can be characterized as a moderate activity and would help a person easily meet the minimum recommendation for physical activity to help stay healthy. While adventurous mountain biking lets you go further with improved health results.
8 ) Decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson is an age-related neurodegenerative disorder that is the second most disease after Alzheimer’s.
Adding moderate to high-intensity workout routines can result in a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, as per a study published in the Jama Network open.
The analysis, based on studies, found out that physical activity such as biking reduced the risk of Parkinson’s disease, specifically in the case of men.
According to the study, biking for three hours per week at a speed of 10-12 mph can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
9 ) Anti-ageing benefits
Want to stay young and look younger than your peers? The simple formula is trying high-intensity biking. A study by Cell.com, reveals the fact that high-intensity exercise is related to enhanced sensitivity to insulin and improved aerobic capacity.
It also resulted in the reversal of many age-related issues and gain in muscle mitochondrial function.
Such training is known to stimulate various muscle functions and robustly offers benefits of both resistance and aerobic training.
10 ) One of the best stress-busting activities
Exercise is known to reduce the most causes of mortality such as stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, but its association with mental health was made clear by a Lancet study.
In a 2018 study, Lancet researchers analyzed data from 2011 to 2015 to identify the impact of exercise on mental health and found out that biking was associated with a lower mental health burden.
To make biking a fun-filled activity, you can organize group mountain biking tours as you try to do away with all the prevailing stress in your life.
11 ) Your contribution to the environment
biking is not only a way to keep your body healthy, but it is also a way to keep the outside environment clean and green. biking is popular when it comes to a country such as the Netherlands.
Bike parking facilities are easily available and there are separate roads for motorists. The country has fully embraced the biking culture to promote a cleaner environment.
As you embrace biking, you make a small contribution towards a healthier external environment, the benefits of which will percolate down and nourish the future generations to come.
Does Mountain Biking Burn Belly Fat?
A lot of people have the question in mind, “how to get their metabolism into burning fat quickly?”
If you are looking for a healthy way to help you slim down, fasted biking is a great alternative.
As per a research study conducted by British biking, a fasted bike ride in the morning can result in a low carbohydrate environment in your body, which is beneficial for burning fat and improving performance.
However, biking is subject to low-intensity bike rides and maintaining sufficient protein intake so that you don’t compromise on recovery.
In case you do plan to ride through steep terrain, re-filling on carbohydrates becomes essential, or else you’ll be compromising with your nutritional requirements.
It’s beneficial to go for a ride before breakfast as you’ve fasted all night and the glycogen levels are low. In this case, your body will now tap into the fat reserves to keep you running.
Just keep riding maintaining a consistent intensity to ensure you receive the fat-burning benefits over a period of time.
How Long Should You Ride To Lose Belly Fat?
Don’t stress over the fact that you aren’t losing that stubborn belly fat.
Just follow a proper biking regime and pair it up with the right diet to see results.
In case you want to take it slow, aim to ride your bike at a low to moderate intensity for at least two hours. As your stamina increases, you can up your workout time to reach 3 hours.
Another way to deal with belly fat is to go hard and take up biking on an empty stomach. This method will require you to take the trails and go hard and fast. Not just that it will be adventurous and refreshing but you will end up burning 30% more calories as compared to regular biking. If you add intermittent fasting to the biking routine you can meet your workout goals much earlier than expected.
Now, let’s look at how mountain biking compares to 5 methods of losing belly fat.
1. Mountain biking
686 calories/ hour
2. Adopting a Calorie-deficit diet
5. Cardio exercises at Gym
6. Yoga sessions
So, you can see that the calories burnt by you while mountain biking rank at the top. This makes it a great alternative when it comes to losing belly fat healthily and sustainably.
Without spending hours sweating it out in the gym, you can go for a trip in the hills with your friends and enjoy the natural beauty.
Wrapping it up
If you want to take all the health benefits of biking including reduction of belly fat, it’s time to get started. With mountain biking, you get all the benefits of a moderate intensity gym workout which is easy on your joints and works-out most of the major muscle groups in your body.
Depending on your riding plan, steadily increase the distance of your rides every week. Be realistic and don’t overdo a bike trip.
Maintain a consistent riding frequency, with a fixed number of rides per week. Once you get accustomed to the routine, try to mix it up by including moderate to difficult biking tours each week.
Monitor the health impacts of your biking trips and make sure to maintain your nutrition levels to avoid any physical issues.
Take ample breaks in between to give your body time to recover and make sure you stretch all the major muscle groups before the ride.
And finally, do let us know how mountain biking has worked out for you!