I think a lot of us realize MTB is good for the mental health-from anyone who is a bit sad, mad or distracted-to those with life affecting disorders/diagnoses or traumatic experieriences. It’s not a Panacea, and doesn’t necessarily replace support/counselling/meds- but it sure does feel good to put rubber to dirt (or rocks, roots, etc)
Here’s a few things I’ve stumbled across recently I’ve found interesting that made me think about this topic more. Feel free to share anything you might find interesting.
(I listened to this podcast last night-she was very articulate and had a great way of putting some things in perspective).
The Radavist article is a bit of a long read, but weaves an interesting narrative of the authors struggles on the trail, with flashbacks to a mental health crisis.
For me, some of the main benefits of mountain biking are:
physical activity - from the reading and podcast listening I’ve done, physical activity is one of the best things that one can do for the mind. It increases blood flow to the brain, and causes the brain to work, activating muscles in sequence, and focuses it if one is learning a particular skill or striving to achieve a particular goal or task.
escape - 5 minutes into the woods, and the cares of life are behind. There’s a lot of discussion that being in the outdoors is good for one’s mental health.
flow state - “Flow” is the idea of your mind being put into a state of focus, concentration, and total immersion into a task, usually one that is enjoyable, but also just inside the limits of one’s ability. Flow states are believed to be good for the brain - for some of the same reasons above - escape (which rests the brain from focusing and dwelling on certain concerns), while at the same time giving the brain exercise by making it work on certain tasks, and gives a feeling of achievement and reward as a task is learned or accomplished. What Is a Flow State and What Are Its Benefits? - Headspace