Four ways Mountain Biking can support mental health

Biking is by far the most popular sport in the US in present day. It is more important to Americans than soccer, baseball, and even basketball. And that is not a hyperbole considering the 40 million participants in cycling events every year.

There are many good reasons the American people love mountain biking. Apart from the countless great outdoors that provide a natural terrain for the adrenalin-fueled activity, the health benefits of mountain biking are far from simple.

Mountain biking is a sport that literally engages all your muscles, thereby inducing a full body work out. Your lower limbs grind while going uphill while you put your abdomen, back, arms, chest, and shoulders to use on a descent.

But are the benefits of MTB only for physical health? Majority of the leisure riders think, and some pros, sadly so. MTB does far more than keeping unwanted fat at bay. Here are 4 mental benefits you can get from frequently hitting the trails.

1.     Endorphins

Endorphins are not what you gain directly from riding your bicycle. They are feel-good hormones: chemicals your body releases during a workout regimen. But I’ll spare you all the scientific jargons and cut to the chase about how it works.

These feel-good hormones significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels. We all know how these bad guys can work us over, and how beautiful our lives could be without any of them.

2.     Nirvana

Meditation is good for the mind. It also has its physical benefits. I remember my lessons in ancient Indian philosophy, about the interconnectedness of everything that exists. But you do not need special yoga sessions to attain to oneness with nature.

You can connect with nature, eyes wide open, by hitting the great outdoors. This is called ecotherapy. Recent findings from research prove that ecotherapy specifically targets depression.

3.     Focus

If you have an uncanny ability to work productively for long hours or see your projects to a desired end, thank God for you. Ask people with ADD/ADHD how much they’ll be willing to spend if they could buy ‘focus.’ A lot of things go on in people’s minds and you don’t need any effort to lose focus.

Riding alone in that mighty forest can remind you that all the problems in the world are not only yours. There are many awe-inspiring views in America that will make you appreciate other things in life. So, ride on… and keep your head straight!

4.     Confidence

If you think confidence is all about good looks and a charming smile, then this post is definitely for you. Knowing that you can go out in the world and achieve something has more to do with your mental health than a muscular body, or even an impeccable CV. Love can leave you broken and failures can work you over.

What if I tell you, that some of these fears you can conquer right on the trail? When finally you beat that difficult trail feature, achieve that new jump, or make that monstrous climb that has felt impossible to do for months, there’s a sense of achievement you’ll feel. The lessons learnt are not only handy for stunting between the trees. They also reflect significantly in the way you handle many other situations in your life.