mtbMany people want to keep fit and keep healthy. People then tend to join the gym and hope that this will keep them interested long enough to have any effects on their health. We all have that friend who bought a gym membership went for the first month and has rarely been since. According to Crunch.co.uk research they found that £37 Million has been wasted on unused gym memberships. In the current financial situation this is a costly thing to let happen. There are many things you can do in its place that can work out cheaper and more convenient.

The Benefits

Mountain biking is one of these alternatives, it can burn around 502 to 791 calories an hour (according to nutristrategy.com) depending on how hard and fast you push yourself as well as your weight. Not only does it help you burn calories it can also be used to strengthen your leg muscles since they are constantly being used. This does however leave your upper body weaker, this should be balanced by doing press ups and other upper body focused exercises.

Getting Started

Hopefully you should already own a bike, but if you don’t look on various bike websites for buying advice (I usually use bikeradar.com or Product reviews). The next item you should buy is an Ordinance Survey Map of your local area. This will give you information on local Bridleways which you are allowed to ride on. Finally get some protective gear, a helmet as a minimum, your going to be cautious to begin and knowing that your head is safe will boost your confidence and will allow you to progress quickly. Try to find a bridleway that doesn’t have much in the way of climbs to begin with, just focus on the distance. Start with 5 miles and gradually extend the distance you go depending on how comfortable you feel.

The ‘Mountain’ Part

When you can ride up to 15 miles on relatively flat land seek out those climbs, the more experience you get at local climbs the easier it will be to transfer those skills over to purpose built tracks.

When going uphill lower your gears, if you find yourself having to stand up your in too high a gear, when your on a flat or downhill section raise the gears as this will boost the distance you get per rotation of the pedal.

Getting bored yet? Time to find new routes and when you feel comfortable ask family, friends or join a local club to get some riding buddies. This is another benefit of mountain biking, it boosts relationships with existing friends and can make you new ones which is sure to be a good emotional benefit.

What Next?

mtb2Now that your confident, and have a few riding buddies, it is time to go out on those purpose built tracks. This is a bit more challenging than local rides as their are now jumps, ramps and wall rides and various other skills that you will have to pick up to become professional.

Hope this has helped, if you have any more tips, feel free to comment below.

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