Practicing a sport like mountain biking has more health benefits than risks, according to studies.
- Mountain biking is not the dangerous and injury-prone sport reserved for thrill-seekers that we think it is.
- The injuries caused by the practice of this physical activity are often minor, provided that you wear a helmet according to a study.
- The health benefits of mountain biking are also numerous, underline the researchers.
The bad reputation of mountain biking, often seen as an extreme sport, is unfounded, according to a new study. Indeed, most of the injuries reported are of low severity according to researchers and the practice of this sport is even less dangerous than hiking.
Mountain biking: injuries are most often minor
Lead author Paul Braybrook, a doctoral student at Curtin Nursing School in Australia, said mountain bikers mostly injure their upper limbs, leading to bruises, scrapes and minor cuts. while hikers tended to injure their legs and ankles, mostly suffering from blisters and ankle sprains.
To reach this conclusion, researchers analyzed data from dozens of studies conducted around the world, including in Australia, on the injuries of 220,935 mountain bikers and 17,757 hikers.
Equipment advances protect mountain bikers
They explain that in the case of mountain biking there has been a cultural shift away from the more extreme riding style or “radical” synonymous with the sport when it began to flourish decades ago in places like Colorado and California, United States.
The equipment (bicycle, shoes and protection) has also been improved, which has reduced the risk of serious injuries.
To ensure that you practice this sport in complete safety, however, researchers point out the importance of wearing a good quality helmet to avoid head trauma, which also applies to cycling in the city, according to official recommendations.
Mountain biking: A sporting practice with multiple health benefits
Lead author Paul Braybrook, a doctoral student at Curtin School of Nursing in Australia, said the risk of injury from mountain biking or hiking was outweighed by the significant benefits.
Indeed, this activity works the cardio, promotes blood circulation, and is very beneficial for flexibility, balance and coordination. It is also a good anti-stress, particularly because it is practiced outside and like any physical activity, it stimulates the secretion of endorphins – the hormones of happiness.
Researchers also highlight the improvement in cardiovascular health and the reduction in the risk of hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes when practicing an activity like mountain biking.