There are a wide array of ways for people to stay healthy and active by getting in some type of workout. Riding a mountain bike is something that many people have tried at some point in their life, and some end up loving it to the point that they make it their regular exercise.
While there is a lot of love about mountain biking in general, there are definitely reasons to maybe go in a different direction depending on a person‘s individual circumstances.
What are the pros and cons of mountain biking? Having this information can help people make a decision as they are on the fence about going all in with mountain biking, or looking for some other activity that they enjoy.
While most people will be just fine getting exercise on two wheels, there are specific people who might need to look elsewhere.
The Pros of Mountain Biking
It is fairly easy to come up with at least a few pros to mountain bike riding, or any bike riding for that matter.
However, there are also some hidden benefits to riding that people might not initially think of. These are some of the most important positives to getting out there on the trails.
Living an Active Lifestyle
No one wants to sit around and do nothing if they can help it. Those who are non-disabled and capable of mountain bike riding can start to live an active lifestyle and see all the benefits that go with it.
There are so many people out there who can’t seem to find something that they are really into, but then they settle on mountain bike riding. What ends up happening is they fall in love with the sport, and it is seemingly new every time out.
Yes, a person needs to know how to ride a bike, but other than that, it is pretty stress-free for the most part. People can go on relaxing mountain bike rides, and they will still be active enough to stay in shape and burn calories.
There is always the opportunity to really push it and see what type of limits can be reached, but that is for those who have a more competitive side of things.
Once a person starts to see the benefits of living an active lifestyle, it starts to bleed into other parts of life. For example, if weight starts to shed off because of riding a mountain bike, people might be more interested in eating healthy and staying active in other ways as well.
All of a sudden, they are watching the number of calories they take in, and they are going on nightly walks. This all starts with a mountain bike and a few trails to tackle.
Reducing the Risk of Health Issues
To go along with living an active lifestyle, mountain bike riding will help reduce many different risks as far as health is concerned.
Living a healthier life overall is going to increase the odds of a person living longer, and specific to mountain bike riding, it all starts with a healthy heart.
Getting any type of cardio is going to help to fight against health problems that start to pop up as a person gets up there in age.
It can be very frustrating to have to deal with any type of heart problem, which is why many try to stay ahead of the curve and find something that they can get into before they get that first true medical scare.
The immune system also receives a boost overall when getting regular exercise. This means the body is capable of fighting off infections a little bit better, keeping people as safe as possible.
Cycling at a decent speed is going to put oxygenated blood all throughout the body, keeping everyone feeling great.
The average bike rider is not built with a ton of muscle, but at the same time, mountain bike riders will build considerable muscle that can translate well into other sports.
It is pretty challenging riding on different elevations overall, as people are required to constantly keep moving in order to get through trails or courses.
The strongest part of any mountain bike rider is the legs. Specifically, the quads start to get very large, but building up strength with the hamstrings and calves is also possible.
One of the more hidden places to build muscle is in the arms. The arms are used a lot more than many people realize, and that means working on biceps, triceps, and forearms.
In order to navigate trails and take certain types of impact, riders must have strong arms to really compete. (Source)
Plenty of doctors encourage people to consider riding a bike as they start to age. Part of that is because it is one of the easiest activities on the joints, especially compared to running.
In fact, a lot of mountain bike riders are converting from a history of running, and it is necessary to not have that pounding every single time.
On the bike, a person has a very fluid motion to get the exercise they need. This is one of the reasons why people who are recovering from an injury will get on a bike and move around.
There might be some minor soreness here and there when a person first starts riding around my bike, but that is only because new muscles are in use.
Once the body gets used to it, it is a very easy motion for people to incorporate as part of their life.
In general, the older a person gets, the more they should be looking for low-impact workouts. There are plenty of them, but very few give people the overall outlook that they can really enjoy that comes with mountain bike riding.
Exploring different areas not only locally, but around the world, can be a huge draw for people who like to ride mountain bikes.
There are so many different opportunities to see different parts of the world from a different angle, and it is very encouraging for those who feel like they might only get exercise with other activities. Mountain biking is an experience rather than only a workout.
There are trails in some of the most beautiful parts of the world, and with rentals being available, it is not necessary for a person to necessarily travel with a bike either.
They can get a bike when they need it, and then they can get a bit of exercise instead of driving around in a car and maybe not having the same amount of access to beautiful spots.
Mental Health Improvements
A lot of people believe that they have seen considerable mental health improvements when they start to dive into any type of bike riding.
For a lot of mountain bike riders, they might not have as much time to clear their mind and relax as they would on a road bike, but there are still opportunities.
There is something to be said for being isolated and away from the hustle and bustle of normal life.
A lot of people look at this as an escape from some of the hectic things to go on each and every day. And it is very encouraging to experience something like that.
A Chance To Meet Like-Minded People
Whenever a person shows up to go on a ride on a mountain bike, it is an opportunity to meet someone out there who also shares the same passions.
These conversations might start in the parking lot, or at a rest area. Since it is still very much a niche sport more than anything, people are always very eager to learn about what draws others to something they like.
It makes a lot of sense for people who ride solo a lot to possibly get in more group rides as well. This is another way that meeting like-minded people can come in handy.
If there was ever anything that went wrong on the trail, having at least somebody else to ride with is great so they can ask for help and get any assistance that is necessary.
The Cons of Mountain Biking
While there are plenty of positives, there are a few cons when it comes to mountain biking.
Most people are able to look past some of these cons and still find it to be a fun and enjoyable activity overall. But this could steer people in a different direction if any of them are deal-breakers.
The average bike ride can easily last over an hour if a person is really looking to get a good workout. In fact, some stretch multiple hours, seemingly taking up half the day.
Sure, there are some high-intensity options out there where a person can go all out for 30 minutes or less, but most people like to extend the ride rather than shorten it.
This might work for some people, but others only have a short amount of time to get a workout in. For those who need to be a little more efficient with their time, they might only be able to go mountain bike riding on the weekends.
It is a tough decision for people to make, but there are only 24 hours in the day.
The very first mountain bike a person purchase is not going to be very costly at all. Chances are, someone either gets a hand me down, or they find one that is used.
However, as a person gets more and more into mountain biking in general, they begin to realize that the prices shoot up considerably.
A decent mountain bike is going to cost at least $1000, and they can jump up to several thousand dollars for getting a high-end option. That is just the bike itself, as there are plenty of other expenses to go with the sport.
To start with, people need to purchase all sorts of accessories to not only have performance but stay safe overall.
A quality helmet, padding, gloves, and storage on the bike automatically add quite a bit of cost to the investment.
There is also the maintenance needed on a mountain bike, as people are usually pretty rough with them overall.
Since the trails are pretty tough, it is necessary for individuals to spend some money keeping everything operating as it should.
There is really no opportunity to skimp because a poorly functioning bike could put a person in a ton of danger.
The chances of an injury happening for one reason or another is decently high with any athletic endeavors.
There are certainly some risks involved with mountain biking, and some people feel like they need to shy away from the activity in general so that they do not put themselves at any risk whatsoever.
Maybe the biggest fear for people to become mountain bike riders is the chance of getting in a major accident. This could happen either by riding solo and making a wrong turn on a trail or having a crash with a vehicle.
There is no doubt that serious injuries can occur when a rider least expects it. In fact, people have passed away due to injuries while on the trails.
However, something similar can be said about riding in a car, playing other sports, or just about any other daily activity.
The last thing a person should be doing is living a life that they fill with fear because of what could possibly happen.
Remember to do many of the basics that people utilize when they are doing just about any other physical activity. Proper stretching, warming up, and more will reduce the chance of injuries occurring.
Wear proper protection, and do not push the pace too much if it takes a person out of their comfort zone. It is one thing to make everything a challenge, but it is another to end up hurt because of some foolishness.
Dealing With Adverse Weather Conditions
No part of the world has perfect weather 365 days out of the year. In fact, the majority of people will be in locations where it is really tough to ever go on a ride for multiple months due to extreme cold.
With all that being said, mountain bike riding is much more versatile than just about any other option out there.
If a person really wants to go for a challenge, they can ride mountain bikes in the winter. It requires wearing more layers of clothes, and people also need to be cognizant of the opportunity to potentially slip because of snow or ice.
However, you can customize mountain bikes to the point that they are easy to use when the weather goes a little south.
Fat bikes are much like mountain bikes on steroids, and that allows people to navigate wherever they want with little fear.
There will definitely be times where a bike ride is canceled. Most people just learn to move on and go find something else to keep them occupied.
At the end of the day, it is not that big of a deal, as there are plenty of other ways to get a good amount of exercise without even leaving the home. It just makes the next bike ride that much more to look forward to.
This only applies to people who are constantly going on rides by themselves. While solo rides can prove to be a positive in some scenarios, they could be negative if people do not have the right mindset.
In fact, loneliness can really start to sit in if a person has a lot on her mind and no one to talk to you.
If a person feels like they are having lonely thoughts before even taking off, it might be the best time to do another activity instead.
Try to be more social in this instance, and maybe some of the loneliness will fade away. Everyone deals with lonely thoughts differently. But there is no doubt that solo mountain biking is going to make things worse for many thinking this way.
Pros Of Mountain Biking Outweigh The Cons?
There are without question more pros than cons when looking at mountain biking as a whole. There is a reason why it is a sport that continues to grow. As more and more people are getting out there and enjoying the beauty of all the different trails.
There is an infinite amount of opportunity to do something different and ride different routes every single day. Challenges exist at home, and there is an opportunity to incorporate mountain biking with nearly any vacation as well.
Having some level of knowledge on the cons of mountain biking is going to be beneficial for most. It is important to not feel like it is perfect by any means, and avoiding the pitfalls starts with knowing what some of those pitfalls are.
Simply put, people are attracted to different activities for their own reasons. If mountain bike riding brings joy to individuals, it is definitely worth sticking with.
There are so many positives to getting out there and enjoying an activity that will keep a person active, healthy, and in a positive mindset. At the end of the day, that is all anyone can ask for out of any exercise routine.