Mountain Biking For Weight Loss
A common question from mountain bikers, especially new riders, is does mountain biking help you lose weight? The short answer to this is that mountain biking for weight loss is a great idea. In fact it is one of the best ways to lose weight out there. So in this post I am going to go through all the reasons why.
Why Is Mountain Biking For Weight Loss So Good?
Mountain biking is an aerobic exercise, which is what we need to do to burn off fat. This is because fat is burned off when your heart rate gets reasonably high. You normally get to this point after about twenty minutes of moderate cardio exercise.
When you go mountain biking there is a good chance that you will be riding for over twenty minutes. If you are not, what are you playing at?! In addition to this, it is pretty easy to get your heart rate in to the fat burning zone. But there are many types of exercise that do this, but what is so special about mountain biking?
Mountain Biking Is Brilliant Fun
There are many exercises that are pretty boring. This is usually down to the repetitiveness of them., But you don’t really get this feeling when riding a mountain bike. Even when mountain biking gets tough, say on a big climb, boredom rarely creeps in to your mind. The hard work is doesn’t seem so bad when you are enjoying yourself.
The fact that you are enjoying yourself means that you are much more likely to carry on riding. This means you get more exercise in and lose more weight, while having fun.
Variety Helps With Weight loss
Mountain biking for weight loss is also beneficial due to the range of effort you have to put in during a ride. Because the terrain we ride is so varied, with climbs, descents and twisty forest trails stops you staying at a constant rhythm. This is the problem with treadmills, road cycling (depending on where you ride) and running, as you can settle in to an easy pace that doesn’t;t get your heart rate up enough.
When you are mountain biking the variable terrain makes sure that you don’t get complacent. The fact that your heart rate goes up and down, means that mountain biking is almost like interval training, which burns fat much quicker.
For me, the scenery is one of the elements that make mountain biking more worthwhile. I do have the advantage of living int he French Alps, which is stunning. But, any ride out in to the countryside will be a lot more picturesque than staring at a wall while on an exercise bike in a gym.
When you stop to catch your breath or for a squashed sandwich from your backpack, it is always nice to take in the views. The scenery always makes the big climbs seem more worthwhile too.
Mountain Biking Makes Your Clever
When you think about it, the stuff that your brain is calculating while you are riding is pretty intense. You are always looking at variations in the terrain, working out the correct speed for corners and features. You are thinking about what gear you need to be in and where your body is positioned. Not to mention having to plan your route.
Exercise benefits your brain in a few ways:
- Regular exercise boots your energy. This means your endurance is improved, helping you think more clearly, which helps you come up with more ideas.
- Exercise sharpens your focus in the short term. This is thanks to improved blood flow to the brain. So maybe you should be riding to work in the morning if you can.
- Mountain biking gives you a good dose of endorphins, which is how your body naturally improves your mood.
- Endorphins help you with your self control and improves how you prioritise tasks. After exercising, you will be able to keep focussed and ignore distractions.
Exercise releases serotonin in to your body. This stuff improves your mood, but it also alleviates symptoms of depression. This is just one of the reasons why you finish your mountain bike ride with a big smile on your face. The other thing about mountain biking, I that you are constantly having to cope with the terrain. Therefore, you don’t have time to think about other thing, such as work and other stressful things in your life. It gives your brain a good respite from the difficulties of day to day life.
But What About The Times You Can't Ride?
Of course it isn’t always possible to hit the trails and look at the scenery. This is normally down to time constraints or weather. Therefore, there are a few things you can do to improve your fitness for mountain biking from home.
Cross training is when you do exercises that will compliment the sport you do. This will not only improve your general fitness and help you lose weight, but it will build the muscles up needed for mountain biking. Mountain biking requires you to have good upper body strength, lower body strength and a good core.
A strong upper body helps you to absorb the bumps in the uneven terrain, while having strong legs is important for pedalling. But a strong core gives you a good platform to push the pedals from. It also allows you to have good manoeuvrability and to hold a good riding position.
Check out my post on mountain biking for fitness to see how you can get strong for your rides at home.
Turbo trainers are a great way to keep you bike fit. These allow you to mount your bike, so you can ride it at home like an exercise bike. There are different types these day, ranging from simple versions with no frills, to ones that offer a full simulator experience. These automatically change the resistance for you for when you are climbing hills, they allow you to race against other people online and some even simulate the changes in terrain to make it more realistic.
The problem with turbo training, is that it can be really boring. This is why you need to choose the right one and make sure you are using it in the right environment. In my opinion the best turbo trainer is the Wahoo Kickr. Check out my review of the Wahoo Kickr trainer and my tips on how to make the most of it.
That Is Why Mountain Biking For Weight Loss Is So Good
There you have it, you have some more excuses to go out on your bike now. Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions on mountain biking for weight loss in the comments section below.