Mountain biking is better for your health and fitness than road
I’m obviously trolling a little bit here for discussion purposes…..
In light of a couple of other posts on the 3 minute weekly workout (Horizon tonight), high intensity interval training (HIIT), weight loss and general training questions I thought I’d throw this hypothesis out there.
Mountain biking is better for your health and fitness because of:
– The work/rest/up/down/stop/start/HIIT nature of it
– The upper body work done
– The skill development needed
Compared to the steady state grinding of road cycling.Posted 6 years ago
Altaz: Totally agree, but it’s a nice side effect that adds to the experience. Especially nice if I enjoy MTBing more as well.
Taff: Another good point.
Yunki: Again a good point. I know some people like the “time to think” aspect of road cycling, but for me the more social aspect of MTB riding is far more beneficial to mental health and well being.
I guess it depends what you see as your ideals when it comes to health and fitness. If it’s super low bodyfat, a skinny power to weight ratio body and a high VO2 max as the ideals of health and fitness then you have a point. I however don’t, I prefer an more all-round fitness, skill development, and not having to mess around with my system and insulin levels by eating endless carbs.
I think for the average bloke out there this favours MTBing.Posted 6 years agoTiRedMember
1) Road for fitness.
2) Off road for bike handling skills.
I think that I’m at the point where 2) is slowing me down on the trails. That and no suspension. I had no trouble dropping people on the inclines at Gorrick, implying that fitness derived from road riding is fine. Of course they caught me on the descents.Posted 6 years agowillMember
hmanchester – Member
Compared to the steady state grinding of road cycling.
This is the key part.
Road riding is constant, no rests (unless you stop) and most of the time i’d say around 80% of maximum effort.
Having said that I see your point. More body movement on a MTBPosted 6 years agoGEDAMember
Maybe people ride mountain bikes as it is fun and that is while there are all sorts of shapes and sizes. I go riding with some roadies and they are super fast on the flat and slight inclines so they are generally faster than me but on steep or technical climbs or downhill. I suppose on a mountain bike you do not really get any benefit on momentum on a lot of surfaces so I do not spin as much.Posted 6 years agooliverd1981Member
And of course any moving bike is going to work you core much more than an exercise bike… Even more so over rough terrain. I reckon given the same amount of pedal time MTB would be tougher on you than road riding, obviously in the real world roadies spend far longer in the saddle.Posted 6 years agowillMember
finbar – Member
Er, no. Sprints for town signs, hills, flats, downhills, taking turns on the front vs hiding at the back etc etc.
Ok, well more constant. With the above you are always putting in effort, all be it slight more in some cases. Guess what i was saying is that with MTB you often get rest periods.Posted 6 years agojwmleeMember
Suspect it depends on where and how you are riding. Quite a few chunky riders of both disciplines around 🙂
Put in the miles on intense routes in either and you get results.
I love both but prefer off road because of the health hazards associated with the Great British motorist!Posted 6 years agoclubberMember
If I have limited time, then I’ll get fitter spending that time on my road bike than I will on my mtb – assuming that I’m going to use my mtb for riding off road – too much time coasting or not pedalling when mtbing. And if riding with mates, too much time stopping to chat 🙂Posted 6 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
MrSmith – Member
you only have to look at the ratio of corpulent to slim mtb’ers compared to roadies to see that your theory is wrong.
Self selection? MTBing is (I believe) more approachable for the non-athletic.
According to my consultant, there’s also a very strong correlation between osteoperosis and road cycling- it’s a very low impact activity in which you sometimes sweat a lot, for a long time, therefore reducing calcium levels. Whereas there’s no reliable indication of a link with mountain biking (though that could be down to a lack of info)
Personally I ride despite the health benefits, but I could do without even brittler bones so that sounds like a good thing.Posted 6 years agomuddyfunsterMember
They are different sports. Haven’t we all been out with the supposedly super fit roadies who aren’t experienced mountain bikers only to find them busted and floundering on a moderately challenging ride? I have.
Furthermore I’ve been going out on night rides (mtb) with a few roadies this winter, the first time for them and they are reporting huge improvements in climbing strength when they get back on the road bike, something echoed by their clubmates who are left trailing behind them.
Riding on the road will improve your cardiovascular fitness for spinning a big gear at a high cadence for a long time. This will have a beneficial effect on aspects of mountain biking which require you to do the same. Mountainbiking is a much more dynamic sport which requires a more general type of fitness.
There are plenty of fat roadies out there too, but in general i would say if you take body fat percentage, lung capacity and heart rate as indicators of fitness then the majority of them will conform to what people regard as fit. In the same way as you would marathon runners I suppose. Neither of whom would last very long in the boxing ring though, when subjected to that type of endurance. Horses for courses etc
super fit?Posted 6 years ago
If I have limited time, then I’ll get fitter spending that time on my road bike than I will on my mtb – assuming that I’m going to use my mtb for riding off road – too much time coasting or not pedalling when mtbing. And if riding with mates, too much time stopping to chat
Exactly my experience too. I had a great MTB ride with mates at the weekend. It was social, it was fun and in places required some skillz. However I didn’t feel very exercised at the end of it. Had I spent the same time on my road bike I won’t have had as much fun but would have covered 3 or 4 times the distance and been properly knackered.Posted 6 years ago
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