Hiking in the snow trails is hands down one of the coolest (pun intended) hobbies during wintertime. However, what if I told you that mountain biking in winter is even better?
Absolutely nothing beats hitting the snowy mountain paths and risking it all to win big against nature with just you and your mountain bike at your side.
But, besides the excitement, you’d be surprised at the plethora of benefits that come with biking in the winter. That’s why we’ve done the research and came up with a list of reasons why you should hit the mountain trails in the winter!
1. You’ll Stave Off the Winter Blues
Have you’ve ever felt unusually sad during the winter time? As it turns out there is an actual scientific explanation behind this sudden shift in emotions, and it’s called “Seasonal affective disorder” (or SAD).
Seasonal affective disorder is described as a mood disorder that affects people who display normal mental health signs throughout the year, but demonstrate symptom of depressions at a specific time of the year (most commonly winter).
Now, normally there isn’t really a cure for depression (medicines can help, and therapy can help people cope of course), but what if I told you that fresh air and exercise help immensely?
Exercising your body helps produce endorphins, which assist with mood elevation; and getting some sunlight helps the body in producing vitamin D (which helps with digestion).
As a bonus, all the fresh air outside plus the beautiful scenery that’s around to enjoy will leave you feeling brand new regardless of how cold it is outside.
Plus, think about how much you’ll be bragging to your friends about beating the season through sheer power alone!
2. You’ll Burn Through the Fat Deposits in Your Body
Almost everyone knows that the best way to burn fat is through cardio and aerobic exercises. But, one thing you might not know is that in cold weather your body burns even more calories.
Survival experts will in fact tell you that as the body senses its temperature dropping it will increase its metabolism to heat up, but it needs fuel to activate this mechanism and in fact will burn through your energy reserves quickly.
When you go out on a bicycle trail, your body is exposed to the wind and chill air; this will make your metabolism shoot into overdrive. As sweat tries to cool the body down it will instead begin to heat up, plus the added exercise will just plow through the fat stores in your body.
There is also the added benefit of the non-shivering thermogenesis effect, which means that your body will be cold enough to trigger the increase in temperature, but not so much that you’ll start shivering while riding. This mechanism will even burn more calories when you’re taking breaks from the ride, so it’s a win-win!
3. You’ll Build Some Amazing Muscles
Wintertime is one of the best seasons to work on your body in preparation for the summer. You’ll be able to ride longer times as your body is kept at a cooler temperature, plus the fact that you’ll be wearing more clothing and gear means that you’re training your body to withstand harsher weights and more punishment.
In winter, it’s also important to keep in mind that you’ll want to use a heavier bike in this climate (fat bikes or mountain bikes work the best) so that means you’re also going to be learning how to handle a different ride (a plus for both brains and brawns).
4. You can Find Yourself in the Peace and Quiet
When you mountain bike in the summer, the trails tend to be packed, hikers come in hordes and pathways have to be shared by everyone in order to maintain their etiquette.
But, the same does not have to be said about riding in the cold winter. Suddenly, you’ll be riding along empty trails and beautiful forests where the only sounds are those of nature and yourself!
You’ll witness the majestic displays of wonder that Mother Nature has to offer and discover yourself, thanks to the rare opportunity of being alone with your thoughts.
5. You’ll Learn How to Balance Your Gear
Knowing what to wear and how much you should bring with you in the summer is important, but doing so in the winter is doubly so.
If you wear too much, you’ll be sweaty and exhausted before you reach the summit, but wear too little and you’ll shiver your calories away before hitting the top.
Thus, riding in the winter will make you an expert in the art of balancing your gear so that you’re not too hot or cold in the middle of your mountain biking adventure!
6. You’ll Learn New Techniques
Listen up, riding in the summer time is easy, almost anyone can pick up a mountain bike and hit the trails with no problem when they’re dry and the grass is green! But, in the winter those same trails become damp and slippery with thin layers of snow.
Now, suddenly making a sharp turns becomes a bit riskier, braking is a little more complex, and your usual trail is now a different beast altogether. But, this change forces you to adapt and by the time you’re done with your adventure you’ll have a newfound sense of appreciation for the season and a whole sleeve filled with new techniques to show off to your friends.
7. You’ll Shock Your Immune System
Exercise is always a great way to improve your immune system and as we all know, mountain biking is a great way to work out your body.
By pumping all that fresh blood through your system, you’ll be forcing your immune system to work at double the pace, and research has shown that people who exercise on a regular basis are about 50% less likely to get sick even in the winter.
As an added bonus, you’ll be getting away from all the sick people that are hanging out indoors while you enjoy the trails!
8. The Trails will Be All Yours!
As I mentioned earlier the mountain trails are usually empty in the winter. You’ll be able to relax your normal habits like ringing a bell or horn anytime you take a sharp turn or won’t have to yield to as many other fellow hikers/riders.
Additionally, with less traffic you might be able to explore the often traveled paths that you haven’t been willing to try due to their difficulty or popularity and no one will be around to laugh if you bite the dust.
Mountain biking is amazing, but doing so during the winter is even better! Not only will you beat the sadness out of the season, but also burn more calories. You’ll have some new muscles to show off during the warmer seasons and discover things about yourself you hadn’t realized in the past.
Winter will also give you a new opportunity to test out your new gear like gloves, scarves, and other items to protect your body. Additionally, winter will give you an opportunity to test out those new techniques you’ve wanted to try and will help stave away infections thanks to your boosted immune system from all the exercise. Finally, the trail will be all yours for the taking!